Drexel University’s Campus Activities Board hosted their annual Spring Jam concert May 16, and it was certainly one to remember. The event was held in Lot F with excited CAB members sprinkled throughout the crowd handing attendees free towels and giant foam fingers.
The night kicked off with indie-pop band, Youngblood Hawke. The six members were full of energy, banging on large drums and hyping up the small crowd, which was approximately 20 people at the time. They sang their new single “Pressure” as well as the hit that most know them for, “We Come Running.”
After their set, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Youngblood Hawke in their makeshift dressing room in a classroom. They knew their way around the engineering complex better than most students. I was immediately offered Red Bull, peanut butter and Nutella, before we sat around in a circle of desks.
Despite the heat and tiny crowd for the first half of their set, Youngblood Hawke loved their time at Drexel. “Everybody was ready to go! There was a lot of energy,” Nik Hughes, Youngblood Hawke’s drummer, said.
It’s clear that all of the members are close friends just after meeting them for a few minutes. “We’ve all known each other for about five to ten years,” Sam Martin, lead singer of the band, said. “Simon and myself were in a band before this one and that kind of fell through. We wanted to play music with out closest friends.”
“I basically told them I was in!” Alice Katz, who is a vocalist and percussionist, chimed in.
The group describes their style as up-tempo and “bombastic” as Martin put it. Their biggest hit to date is “We Come Running,” which has an exciting music video with an inspirational meaning behind it.
“It’s a call to action, kind of an anthem,” Simon Katz said, “We decided to go swimming with tiger sharks! We wanted to tie in something to the video that was important, so we incorporated shark conservation to bring a bit of awareness to the cause. They’re not at all these dangerous creatures. Environmental causes are important to us all around.”
Youngblood Hawke is a Los Angeles based band, but they’ve performed in Philly three times before. “It was a tiny little punk rock show,” Alice said. “We didn’t know if anybody was going to show up but the club was packed,” Hughes added.
They’ve played over 600 shows around the world to date, including shows in the Philippines and Australia, where they opened up for P!nk. But what is life on the road like with a six person band?
“When you’re on tour, the things you think about are coffee, food, have I showered?” Tasso Smith, the guitarist for Youngblood Hawke, said. Alice also spoke about the situation of being the only girl. “I’m pretty easy going but sometimes I annoy them. I’ll say, ‘Okay clean the bus!’ but other than that it’s a blast. I love these guys. We all know each other really well so it’s easy.”
The conversation with this laid-back band ended with how their dream dressing room request is puppies and kittens. When I brought up Drexel’s therapy dog Jersey, every grown, bearded man in the room melted and let out an “Aww” in unison. “He looks so wise!” Simon said after being shown a picture of Jersey.
As Youngblood Hawke attended a meet and greet followed by a much-deserved meal at Shake Shack, Cherub took the stage. Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber are a pop funk band who clearly had the now larger crowd excited. An intense break dancing circle broke out despite the steady rain that was coming down. Cherub sang all of their hits including a crowd favorite, “Doses and Mimosas.”
Before the final and main act, jazz and electronic band Big Gigantic, could take the stage, Spring Jam’s host and student disc jockey winner George Armentani announced that the audience had to go inside until the heavy rain passed. After only a 20-minute delay, the show was back on. Big Gigantic had the crowd in the palms of their hands, even bringing Cherub back out to sing their collaboration, “The Night Is Young.”
Drexel students trekked back to their rooms drenched but smiling after three hours of amazing live music.