The Raisins have had a hot start to their senior year, to say the least.
Last weekend was the band’s opening show at the Wastement. The room was so hot and packed that some fans either couldn’t get in or couldn’t stand watching in a puddle of their own sweat. Some students who couldn’t get in but still wanted to watch sat by the basement windows just to get a peak of the band.
The Raisins have been widely revered as a cornerstone in the CC music community since their sophomore year. They have played Llamapalooza the last two years and are expected to perform at house parties every block. Last fall, while playing after bluegrass band Steep Ravine, the band was kicked out of the Armstrong auditorium by Campus Safety because fans became too rowdy and joined them on stage.
With two rambunctious years behind them, one would think the pressure is on to make their last year the best. The band, however, doesn’t feel any expectations.
“Within the band, we just want to have fun and enjoy our last year,” says singer/guitarist Danny Sponseller ‘15.
The future of the band after graduation remains on the horizon.
“There are a lot of ideas, but nothing tangible yet,” says Sponseller. The focus remains on the present. The band members worked on a lot of material over the summer and hope to bring new songs to their shows; two of these new songs premiered this past weekend.
The Raisins think their start went “really well” as Sponseller says. Referring to the heat, guitarist Ben Brown ‘15 says, “it went as well as it could have.”
The atmosphere of the venue is not something the band can control, but it presents something they have to play through. Luckily, most fans were willing to make the sacrifice.
The band has always had a ‘show-must-go-on’ mentality, so they were ready to persevere and play through the fog of body heat.
“We figured, your body can probably take it,” says Sponseller.
“My eyes were rolling back in my head, and I was getting a little pale, but it’s fine,” jokes Brown.
The Raisins enjoy playing house parties and says they’re fun, but they ultimately prefer the concert setting.
“House parties can be stressful; people are bumping into you and pouring beer on your stuff,” notes Brown. “Musically, having a stage and playing an event is much more fulfilling.”
The Wastement is not only the band’s first venue but, as Sponseller and Brown’s home this year, it’s also their rehearsal space. The Raisins hope to fix the heat problem and invest in some fans for the basement. Hopefully, as fall and winter roll in everything will start to cool off their shows.
“Now that we’re living at that house, it gives us a lot of free reign on when we can rehearse and that gives us more flexibility and time,” says Sponseller. “We’re really excited about that.”
The new rehearsal space is being used to work on new, original pieces. The band is taking in eclectic influences. Sponseller currently notes Derek and the Dominoes and Argentinian tango as influences, while Brown favors Barbara Streisand and Creed.
“Honestly, we listen to Creed every day,” the guys say. Sponseller’s influences can be heard more than Brown’s, but they’re waiting for the requests on the Creed and Streisand songs.
Looking forward for the CC music community as a whole, the band is excited by younger bands like Funkdozer, TouchIt, and new bands forming this year. Their advice for upcoming bands is “just have fun with it.” They are welcoming bands to come to the Wastement as their openers and to play on their own.
The Raisins are currently in the works of planning an event much like Youjazz’s “Shut Up and Stop Making Sense,” held last spring in Cornerstone. The event will bring in other student bands and musicians to play with them. Expect to see and hear much more from The Raisins as they begin a hopefully amazing senior year.