By Will Angell-James, News Correspondent
Modeling alternative outfits and philanthropic badges, audience members talked about the latest music trends and artistic ventures. The excitement lingering in the air was soon shaken by the sounds of indie rock and chiptune.
On Saturday, March 19, Northeastern University-based (NU) chiptune band T-T)b joined Nashville four-piece rock group Bully at afterHOURS. The event was sponsored and organized by student-run magazine Tastemakers.
T-T)b’s frontman and NU senior journalism student Joey Dussault explained how the band’s music stems from an American electronic quartet, Anamanaguchi, and video games.
“Basically, I was writing music based on what I would’ve liked to have heard in video games,” Dussault said.
Chiptune, also known as eight-bit, is synthesized electronic music used in vintage computers and arcade machines. Although it began as sound to accompany video games, it is now an independent music genre.
However, according to drummer Dussault, T-T)b’s days of pure chiptune are long-gone, as the formation of the band has led to tracks consisting of 60 percent chiptune and 40 percent instrumental.
Joey’s self-taught programming skills gave birth to T-T)b in October 2013. He was soon joined by his brother Nick and NU junior chemical engineering major Jake Cardinal.
Nick Dussault, University of Massachusetts-Lowell sophomore audio-engineering major, said T-T)b’s name originates from an emoji.
“It’s a crying face,” he said.
T-T)b’s electronic melodies hovered over eclectic power chords and appealed to the crowd.
“They had a lot of energy,” Alex Wetzel, freshman business administration major and Tastemakers representative, said.
When the chiptune-inspired bonanza seemed complete, it was Bully’s turn to take the stage.
“It’s been tricky getting them here, having played on Conan,” Ryan Kehr, senior English major and Tastemakers’ president, said. “They have a lot of stuff going on, so I’m glad they’re here.”
Indeed, afterHOURS was a much smaller setting than what Bully was used to. Having toured Australia in 2015 and set to play at Governor’s Ball in June, Bully’s singer-guitarist Alicia Bognanno said NU was the band’s “first official” university concert.
Bognanno captured the audience’s attention by screaming into the microphone about themes as vast as world problems and as personal as her own victories and losses. Bognanno is known for singing about her insecurities and overall private topics, from dirty bedsheets to body image issues.
With every head bang and every bellow, the roof lifted a little higher. At the end of the show, Bognanno revealed her musical career plans.
“I’d like to do another two albums,” she said.
Before joining T-T)b in mingling with the audience and selling merchandise, Bognanno said she had a great time and expressed aspirations for future small-scale concerts.
“I hope the other [college shows] will be this fun,” she said.
Photo by Alex Melagrano