On Saturday, Sept. 1, progressive rock and reggae band Nevergreen performed at the Yellowjacket Weekend carnival on Goergen Field. Hopes were high for a great show from this local band which has been gaining quite a bit of popularity recently — unfortunately, this concert was doomed from the very beginning.
The music itself was decent, if not particularly memorable, but, unluckily for Nevergreen, almost no students attended the show. This resulted in an incredibly low-energy performance that ended up being little more than lackluster.
Nevergreen seems to struggle with their musical identity. On their website, the band states that they have “roots ranging from metal and punk rock, to pop and hip-hop.” However, they seem to have more than roots in all these genres — they appear to swing back and forth between them, creating a hectic set. There was very little cohesiveness in the songs as a whole.
There was also little cohesiveness between Pass and the rest of Nevergreen. The band itself thrived in the more rock-centric songs; the drummer, J Pass, in particular, excelled during these pieces, completing transitions between the songs fluidly and genuinely looking like he was enjoying performing. However, the lead singer’s voice generally was not strong enough to hold up to these songs, and was far better suited to those that were more reggae- and jazz-inspired — but these latter pieces seemed to virtually put the band (and the audience) to sleep.
Some of the rock-inspired songs were a bit catchier, but on the whole the music was forgettable — enjoyable in the moment, but nothing worth buying later on.
Another issue that hindered the band was timing. Nevergreen was scheduled to play for the final hour of the carnival — in an attempt, perhaps, to encourage students to stay for the entire length of the event.
This plan backfired, however, when many students were unwilling to wait so long for a band few had heard of, when so many had arrived fairly early to get a free “Feel the Sting” T-shirt.
This meant that by the time Nevergreen started their set, the masses of students that had originally been in attendance had thinned dramatically, leaving only a select few to watch the show. At any given time there were no more than 15 people directly in front of the stage. A few more were scattered throughout Goergen Field, playing the carnival games and occasionally going on the rides. But even counting those students, attendance for the event was shockingly low.
This was a huge detriment to the band. They seemed to lose energy as time went on, since they were unable to feed off the enthusiasm of the crowd, and the lead singer, Sara Pass, tried desperately to engage the few students that were left.
Though she was occasionally charming, more often than not her comments seemed odd and awkward, perhaps partly due to the fact that she was yelling to a silent audience, but also largely because she didn’t seem to understand the nature of the event at which she was performing. She appeared to be under the impression that the event was something more akin to D-Day, rather than the low-key carnival it actually was.
“I want to know, has anyone thrown up today?” Pass asked about midway through the show. To the uncomfortable silence that followed, she responded, “Because of the heat … and the rides.”
This kind of discomforting interaction left the audience a bit uneasy. However, this wasn’t the only issue with the performance, or the band as a whole.
In general, Nevergreen simply seemed like an odd choice for Yellowjacket Weekend. Even if their performance had been scheduled earlier and their show had more energy, they still would have been too slow to dance to and too boring to really care about. A no-name band and a terrible time slot made this concert one of the dullest to grace UR in recent years.
Overall, this performance was an unfortunate mix of poor choices and only decent music. Here’s hoping that next year the Yellowjacket Weekend concert doesn’t suffer from these same mistakes.
Howard is a member of the class of 2013.