A new sound for W&L

Students surprised by indie-rock bands bringing unique music to campus for GAB’s fall concert

Moon Taxi at The Pavillion

Moon Taxi at The Pavillion

Danielle Hughson

After many nights of “Wagon Wheel” and “Jesse’s Girl” playing over the tinny Traveler speakers, it was about time for some new music to hit the Washington and Lee Campus.

On Saturday night, the General Activities Board filled this need with two bands, Moon Taxi and Reptar. A pleasant break from formals, semi-formals, and mixers, Washington and Lee students got to enjoy music much less suited to swing dancing than normal. Despite a rather slow start to the evening–when Reptar opened the show and there were only around fifteen people in the entire pavillion, the crowd swelled throughout the course of the night.

By the time Moon Taxi sauntered onto the stage, the Washington and Lee Pavillion was filled with sweat, shouts,and enthusiasm. The excitement was palpable as the first chord of “Mercury” was strummed and it only escalated from there.

“The atmosphere was really good, and since I love going to concerts, it was great to be be able to go to one on campus,” said Emily Austin ‘18. “It felt like we had a personal concert, especially since I was right in the front with my friends. We were barely a few feet away from the band.”

However, these bands are not typically what you would find at a Washington and Lee band party. As one might deduce from their somewhat unusual names, these bands both are centered in an indie-progressive rock tradition. Interestingly, the members of Moon Taxi met during their freshman year at Belmont in Nashville, Tennessee. Three of the current band members (Trevor Terndrup on vocals and guitar, Spencer Thomson on guitar, and Tommy Putnam on bass) began playing together through jam sessions in their dorm rooms, However, Moon Taxi has progressed quite a bit since then–playing their top song “The New Black” on The Late Show with David Letterman shortly after its release in 2013. As they stated before playing “Southern Trance,” it is always good to come home to the South. Reptar, similar in sound, also has Southern origins, coming from Georgia. The band is named after the Rugrats character Reptar, which lead singer/guitarist Graham Ulicny calls, “The second stupidest band name we have ever heard.”

Despite the juxtaposition of what the average Washington and Lee student is accustomed to listening to and the sounds of these bands, the concert went off without a hitch. New fans and old fans alike enjoyed the atmosphere, aided by a generous use of the fog machine, and a variety of colorful, flashing lights. With all the dancing, singing along, and overall levels of excitement, the General Activities Board is sure to count their first event of the season as quite the success.