There’s a new sound coming on campus. Awakened from its millennia-long slumber by an ill-advised nuclear test, the beast of punk rocking goodness that is One Blue Link has emerged from its underwater cave and is running a rampage through the Tokyo of the Williams party scene. Those in the know may have seen this reptilian apocalypse coming in the form of the band Bluntweak, the former incarnation of One Blue Link, but few of us could have predicted the sheer prehistoric rocking power that would be unleashed when ungodly amounts of gamma radiation mutated it into something bigger, something badder, something ridiculously funked out.
What makes them so block-rockingly good? First, they’ve got a great set list – they lay down a foundation of solid, crowd pleasing and highly danceable covers, mostly alt and punk rock, with a few older numbers thrown in for good measure. But then they start to mix it up with an incredible collection of original pieces, and you start to see what separates them from your average college cover band. These guys have song writing skill, and they just keep turning out better and better work. Listen for pieces like “Magnets of Loneliness,” “June” and “Breaking Up with Myself” and you’ll see what I mean.
But One Blue Link isn’t just about good songs; if anything, it’s the delivery – the stage show â€“ that really gets people on their feet. And that’s all about musicianship and stage presence, which these guys have in spades.
Leading off the rotation is frontman Stu Warshawer ’03, a newcomer to the rock band scene with a solid background in the a cappella circuit that comes through in his incredible vocal talent. He’s got total frontman charisma too – he can get an audience with him and ready to go in seconds, and has the stamina to keep up an incredible amount of energy throughout sets that can run as long as two hours.
On guitar, another newcomer to the Williams band scene (if only because he’s a freshman) is Phil “the Professor” Enock ’05. Despite his relative youth, he more than holds his own alongside the older members of the band. According to other band members, he can hear a song once and play it back on the guitar, and watching him play you don’t doubt it. On stage he’s reserved and focused, the guy who anchors the operation technically and keeps the playing tight even when the rocking energy builds to explosive levels.
And where are those explosive levels coming from? Look to Andrew “Swerve” Kao ’04, a seasoned veteran of the Williams band scene, pumping out rocking badness on the bass. He’s a classically trained musician, and it shows not just in his masterful playing but also in his original compositions like “June,” a great song that works as a punked-out version of Pachelbel’s Canon. Watching him on stage, you can see how totally comfortable he is playing music. Even as he dances and moves like a madman, breaking strings and generally getting the place rocking, he still keeps his playing right on target – a very sweet combination.
Finally, throwing out some incredible beats on the drums is another well-known Williams band expert, everyone’s favorite French expatriate, Jeremy “Snoop” Da ’03. The founding member of the band and one of their most prolific songwriters, Da keeps a little behind the scenes until a big drum opportunity comes along, and then all hell breaks loose. He blasts out sound with machine-gun speed that’s amazing to watch. Catch him after a show and ask to see his hands – they’ll be absolutely shredded from his playing.
According to all the band members, there’s a lot of chemistry and a lot of compromise that goes into their work. They have great respect for each other as musicians, and as Da said, “I’ve played in a lot of bands for a long time now, played with some great people, really good musicians, but this is definitely the most skilled group of guys I’ve ever worked with. They’re incredible, I feel really lucky to be able to play with them.”
The band members also bring different musical preferences, ranging from metal to punk to Irish hard rock. Although this diversity can lead to debate over musical direction, out of it comes some compromise, some fusion and some very good music.
Asked about what they’re going for on stage, the consensus was that basically they were out there to have fun with music and the audience. As Warshawer commented, “we have a great time when we do the party band thing. We’re at our best when there’s a lot of people, that critical mass where you can really get people dancing. The most fun venues for us are things like row house parties, because you can get that really energetic atmosphere there.”
Those at Perry House on April 6 got a chance to see what Warshawer meant – the band was clearly in its element, the audience was psyched and people were having a great time. As the school year finishes up, people are hoping for more shows from these guys, because they really are just that good.