Michael Woodworth

Equinox Staff


Have you ever had that feeling doing what you love in front of a packed house at a local venue? That dual feeling of nervousness and excitement? A feeling where you’re not really sure of how to handle it?

The Starving Artist hosted yet another concert on Friday, Feb. 17.

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The band featured this time was a local band, Jake McKelvie & the Countertops; a band that did just that, an experience they are actually very used to. Fears were raised when originally only two or three people showed up to listen to the tunes.However the community came through once again and packed a full house, causing an exciting stir in the air. The audience bobbed their heads along to the catchy beat of the music and furiously applauded after each song; they even applauded after a well-played solo by one of the band members.

“They [the Countertops] gave off a good vibe through their music and their personalities,” freshman Rebecca Marsh commented.

Jake McKelvie himself fronts the band. McKelvie plays guitar and is the lead vocalist.

Jeff Hall and Nick Votruba make up the rest of the band on the drums and on bass. They also do some harmonizing and sing back up.

Even though they are an out-of-the ordinary three-person band, they still played to their full potential.

“It was different, but they still played their music to the potential of a four or five-person band,” Marsh mentioned.

McKelvie doesn’t attend Keene State College but drives up from Hubbardston, Mass., which is roughly an hour, to either practice with the band or play a venue.

“It’s great [playing up here]. Nick [Votruba] and Jeff [Hall] are awesome to play with,” McKelvie commented. The trio let comedy run free before, during, and after their set.

Whether it was the light-up dry erase board in the background with a silly drawing and the name of their band, or Votruba blowing away on the kazoo, the band held its own and created an atmosphere of entertainment.

Being a local venue, the Starving Artist brings in community members, but mostly KSC students when well-known local bands are headlining. “It’s great. I like to see old and new faces,” Votruba said.

Morgan Little, the guitarist and singer of The Mild Revolution, another locally famous band, came out and enjoyed the show.

“I think the community supports the bands. This is definitely a music community,” Little said.

McKelvie said he likes playing a live show and that it is always a fun time. “The more people there are where you can feed off the energy of, the better the show. It gives the songs a completely better feel and a different perspective,” McKelvie said. Opening up for the Countertops was Carrie Ferguson.

Strumming a guitar and playing a keyboard that needed two people to set up. Ferguson played and sang while Sarah Kochanski created the rhythm and Nur Habib either banged on the drums or plucked the mandolin. Sophomore Kirk Bobkowski said he liked the set.

“I liked the interesting combination of instruments,” he added.

The trio also let humor run through their set, mostly Habib throwing out sarcastic remarks towards the other members or even the crowd. Ferguson’s hometown is Arcata, Calif. and now lives in Northampton, Mass. Ferguson grew up playing on an upright piano.

This piano was inherited from the family of a student in her father’s third grade class, according to Ferguson’s official website, carriefergusonmusic.com.

This piano was special because the students constructed it from old piano parts.

Her touring career began in 1990 and really hasn’t stopped, whether it’s going solo for a couple gigs or playing with the band, which is called The Cherry Street Band.

Her first full-length solo album titled, “Riding on the Back of the Wind” was released in February of 2010 at a sold out show at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass., where the full band resides.

“I would buy her album because she shows a good attitude through her music,” Marsh said.

She has also opened up for names such as Antje Duvekot, Cheryl Wheeler, Anne Heaton, and The Mammals, which are big names in that genre.

She has shared numerous festival stages with Melissa Ferrick, Catie Curtis, Toshi Reagan, and the Stone Coyotes.

Her songs can be heard over the airwaves of WUMB in Boston and WRSI in Northampton.

They can also be streamed for free on her website.

With another weekend over, the Starving Artist has the upcoming weekend where it will surely host another successful concert.


Michael Woodworth can be contacted at mwoodworth@ksc.mailcruiser.com

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