Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Students enter local music scene

By McKenzie Murphy

SUNY Plattsburgh is a college known for its clubs, organizations and engaging student life, but what about its bands? For these students, being in college bands have changed their college lives.

Seeing the two different bands, it can be easy to mix up the two and jumble them together. However, both The Gallery and Lagrogg have two different stories and, all around, are two different types of bands. 

Photo Provided

Zach Niles, Logan Valerio, Eric Steckler, Billy Gagnon and Stevie Geiling all take part in their band, The Gallery. 

For The Gallery, having this exact list of members wasn’t always the case. 

The Gallery hasn’t always been The Gallery.

“Our first name as a band was Maximum Occupancy,” Gagnon, The Gallery’s bassist, said. “We saw this sign on a room in the basement of D-burgh that said maximum occupancy, and we were like that’s cool. And then we changed [the band’s name] to Quiet Hours.”

Quiet Hours members consisted of two current Gallery members, Valerio and Gagnon. The band mainly jammed in the basement of DeFredenburgh Hall and at Coffeehouse for the spring ’22 semester. 

“We performed under quiet hours for basically all of spring 2022,” Valerio, The Gallery’s lead guitarist, said. 

After the spring semester, two of Quiet Hour’s members left SUNY Plattsburgh and during this fall semester, Niles, Geiling and Steckler joined the band and officially became The Gallery. 

The Gallery has played at venues like Coffeehouse, Late Night for The Planet, the No More Cancer Rally and at house shows around Plattsburgh. 

When it comes to the type of music they play, their set lists range far and wide. 

“We don’t limit ourselves too much in terms of genre,” Gagnon said.

The Gallery tends to play music that is flowy and inspirational, with rock being the main genre that they play. They also are working on writing some of their own music. 

“There is a level of musicality behind each musician here,” Valerio said. 

Valerio talked about how there will be times at shows when Gagnon will play something on his bass that the band has never heard and they all roll with it.

“By the end of it, we’ve been in this seven minute jam that’s like the coolest most fun song we’ve ever played and everybody’s like ‘what was that?’” Valerio said.

Gagnon said that what makes The Gallery, The Gallery, is their variation in musical background and how each member brings something different to the band. 

“For example, Stevie [Geiling] was a jazz drummer for seven years,” Gagnon said. “Logan [Valerio] listens to a lot of classic rock. I listen to a lot of indie music and alternative rock. And Zach [Niles] brings in a pop aspect.” 

For their band, it was important to them to have those different types of backgrounds in music. 

With being in a band, there comes struggles too. 

“It’s so hard to like actually get together and practice and find a time that works for everybody,” Gagnon said. 

With five people in the band, all living five different lives, the band agreed that scheduling is the hardest part of it. But, they have ways of overcoming that barrier.

“Say if we’re practicing and only Logan, Stevie and I can show up, then sometimes we’ll practice with just the three of us. Whoever can make it, makes it,” Gagnon said.

Valerio mentioned that because they all have large musical backgrounds, it’s easy for them to fill in with what they missed and can easily jump right back in. 

“We’re just awesome,” Niles, The Gallery’s lead vocalist, said. “We play things on such short notice and make it sound great in the process.”

In the future, the band hopes to release music on all musical platforms and maybe even one day become a band in the real world. 

The Gallery agreed that one of their biggest supporters is Lagrogg. 

“Lagrogg and us are starting the scene together. We go hand in hand,” Valerio said. “They’re some of our biggest supporters and we are some of their biggest supporters. We love those guys.”

Lagrogg, another SUNY Plattsburgh band, felt inspired by The Gallery performing for college students at college venues.

Photo Provided

Casey Halloran, Blake Liberie, Edward Morris and Greg Dimoulas, are members of their band, Lagrogg.

The band started back in the summer of 2021 when Halloran, Dimoulas and Liberie started jamming on the porch of their apartment, playing at open mics every week.

The following summer, the band was searching for a bassist when Halloran met Edward Morris at Chapter One in downtown Plattsburgh. Halloran later asked Morris to be part of the band. 

Early this semester, Lagrogg heard The Gallery performing at Late Night for the Planet. 

“Blake [Liberie] and I saw The Gallery play at Olive Ridley’s,” Halloran, Lagrogg’s lead vocalist, said. “I said, ‘holy crap there’s a college band. Holy crap people like it.’ We watched them. Even just from first set to second set, this was their first time playing live, you see how much they improved and how awesome it was.We were like this is a real dream that we have of creating a real college music scene and The Gallery’s doing it right now.”

The band agreed that they wanted to take the college band scene seriously and that night they became Lagrogg. 

For Lagrogg, the most important part of their band is getting the people involved and they discussed how they thrive off making their audience happy. 

“We care about our audience the most,” Dimoulas, Lagrogg’s drummer, said. “We’re always putting our feet in the audience’s shoes.”

Lagrogg preached that they are for the people and their main goal is to make sure their audience is having a good time. 

“The more energy you give us in return for what we’re giving, the better our performance is going to be,” Halloran said. 

The band mentioned that their slogan, “Lagrogg is here, Lagrogg is now,” is what would describe their band the most.

“I mean we are here, and we are definitely now,” Liberie, Lagrogg’s lead guitarist, said.

Lagrogg typically sticks to playing psychedelic rock and grunge music for their audience and is also working on their own music. 

 Lagrogg played their version of psychedelic rock and grunge at past venues such as Peabody’s, Monopole, SUNY Plattsburgh men’s hockey games and house shows. 

“Peabody’s is our biggest, that’s probably our homebase,” Halloran said. “But Monopole is our true beginning. And now we’re talking about the hockey games.”

Halloran mentioned how he wants the Plattsburgh band community to grow outside of only The Gallery and Lagrogg.

“I envision creating Plattsburgh into a music scene where there is not just The Gallery and Lagrogg, there’s multiple different bands,” Halloran said. “Where students can go see live music because that’s what it’s about. It’s about going and having a good time somewhere.”

Like The Gallery, Lagrogg also experiences struggle with being in a band. 

Dimoulas brought up the struggle of conflicting ideas within the band, however, Halloran had a different idea of what the band struggles with the most.

“I would say, for me, the biggest conflict is what we wanna focus on,” Halloran said. “To me its like, ‘oh we’re playing the hockey games now. Do we wanna be playing the hockey games now?’ That’s what we have to determine.” 

For them, it’s about figuring out if a gig is going to be of service to them and bring them joy. In the end, they said that they’re all like brothers and they all figure it out. 

In the near future, the band hopes to release original music with the goal of it being in the form of an EP. They also have hopes of performing at music festivals one day. 

Both bands are on Instagram at @thegallery_band and @lagrogg_music. Lagrogg also promotes their band through flyers around campus and local neighborhoods. 

The Gallery is playing at Olive Ridley’s next semester and Lagrogg will be playing at Peabody’s, Dec. 9 from 9 to 10 p.m.

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