Anyone who has been to Spurrier in the past weeks may have run into The Teddy Rycroft Quintet— made up of Teddy Rycroft, Chris Palace, Alex Fortier, Thomas Mariano, and Christopher Fertakis-Giovanni—as they rehearsed for their first big gig: Starbucks’ Friday Night Live. Although it was their first time appearing together in Starbucks, Rycroft and Palace are no strangers to the Starbucks stage—they’ve been performing together since last year, and have done Friday Night Live shows before. With this newer mix of instrumentalists, Rycroft, as lead vocalist, tied the raw talent of these five young men into an ensemble resembling a sound that’s, according to them, somewhere “between Young Thug and Miles Davis.”
Their music spanned quite a large array of feelings, from upbeat happiness to anger and sadness. Intermixing songs like “Marrow,” that had high energy and intense feelings, with their some of their softer songs, like “Speak,” which are based on sweeter melodies or more somber lyrics, the quintet stirred a sea of raw emotion and poetic language before the audience. For many, their amazing and natural stage presence seemed to leave a big impression. Many of the instrumentalists mirrored the calm vibe of the background, and Rycroft allowed himself to be consumed with the lyrics, which captivated the audience’s attention. Because Rycroft is behind most of the powerful lyrics of the set, his connection to the words was evident in his voice and his body language. It’s impossible to not be transported into Teddy’s shoes, sharing in his heartbreak and joys as he conveys to the audience some of his deepest emotions.
One of the most impressive feats a band can achieve is being able to improvise with one another, which the Teddy Rycroft Quintet achieved beautifully. To be that comfortable with other musicians and the music being played to just feel where the song is going while it’s being performed is a skill that takes time, practice, and musical prowess. The fact that the members were so into the songs carried over to the audience, who could be seen tapping along, fully immersed in the music.
Even students who came in to Starbucks to simply buy a drink were drawn away from their conversations by the calming resonance of the quintet’s music. It’s safe to say that the group succeeded in their plan to provide a relaxing atmosphere that captured the attention of the audience and held it for the entirety of their performance.