It’s an exciting phenomenon to watch a band hit puberty. I did not witness the actual “coming to fruition” of the band formerly known as Jelly Fish Jazz Time (who I will now call the Slapbacks because they are considering this new name, and I’m tired of typing the “artists formerly known as Jelly Fish Jazz Time”), but I’ve witnessed their potential as a young band ready to be bar mitzvah’d into a man band and receive more gig time and a recognizable name on the CC campus.
On Classy Wednesday, Nov. 14, I trekked from my off-campus house on N. Weber to a small room in Slocum just to give a listen to the all-sophomore band the Slapbacks. I say trekked, because I am in a cast and, despite my newfound and exceptional crutching skills, it’s still a hike, and the room where I witnessed this exclusive the Slapbacks talent show was hardly handicap accessible.
I waddled, hopped, pushed some super non-alcoholic brown glass bottles out of my way, and found my seat among the familiar smell of pot, which no doubt was from the room down the hall, mind you. Regardless, in this talent show I found something very rare in talent shows altogether – talent.
The band consists of Austin Langsdorf on guitar and vocals, Eliza Densmore on vocals and guitar, Eli Sashihara on bass, and last, but certainly not least, Andrew Hallahan on, wait for it, the accordion. When is the last time, in America, that you heard a live accordion?
The accordion is an awesome element of the band that fits perfectly into some of their songs. While none of the band members boasted insane chops or virtuosity on their respective instruments, they had charisma. Most of their songs have a very singer/songwriter sound and feel and, as Langsdorf is a member of the Back Row, you know he’s got pipes.
Densmore also sings. In my years at CC, I have had the pleasure, and often times the distinct displeasure, of hearing kids strum an acoustic guitar and sing/screech/talk/Bob Dylan. That being said, I have heard very few voices as pure and infectious as Densmore’s. It is very likely that Densmore’s parents are actually Adele and Norah Jones. Densmore might not always be singing lead, and when she’s not, her harmonies still stand out in a big way.
This band has character. I think that they may have created a song that can serve as a CC anthem when we’ve already drunkenly sung “Wagon Wheel” too many times. This song is their funkiest original, “Franzia”. Yes, like the bags that are so regularly slapped. The song is Flight Of the Conchord’s-esqe both in sound and substance. The song is funky and groovy and meant to get a room rowdy. It would be in their best interest to write more songs like this and maybe get a couple horns involved in their band.
The lyrics mostly repeat, “Franzia, she ain’t that good or expensive.” So true. The song also rings out lines like, “you know we get down on Wednesday’s,” and “16.99 at Weber,” and “you can take her to Rastall.” Not that the band would ever actually take Franzia to Rastall.
Near the end of the song, Lansdorf and the rest of the band start rhythmically yelling, “SLAP THE BAG. SLAP THE BAG.” When can we download this song? It is both a song and a drinking game. A true masterpiece.
The Slapbacks is young and still figuring its shi— stuff out, but I hope to see more of them in the future. One thing’s for sure, whenever their next concert is, everyone better bring a bag to slap. I’ll bring the Sunset Blush.