New student band, Half the City, performs on campus
Since forming in the fall, student band Half the City has played in a number of campus events including BarHop, Thetaroo and Friday Night Rock last week. The band primarily plays covers of songs from a wide-range of genres, including funk, pop-rock, gospel and hip-hop.
The founding Half the City members include Latika Sridhar ’16 on lead vocals, Brendan Barth ’17 on the saxophone, Daniel Shanker ’16 and Ted Owens ’16 on the guitar, Moises Silva ’16 on the drums and Josh Cetron ’16 on the bass. Half the City brought in trumpet player Kathryn Waychoff ’16 this winter to fill in for Barth while he is abroad in New Zealand.
Prior to the formation of Half the City, each member of the band had already participated in the campus music scene. Owens, Shanker and Cetron played together in a student band, Some Kind of Jet Pilot, for two years, with Sridhar occasionally joining them.
Sridhar is also a former member of the a cappella group the Dartmouth Decibelles and is currently in D-Style, Dartmouth’s freestyle rap and comedy performance group.
Silva played with the Euphemisms, a student band that saw many members graduate last year.
“We were looking at this year and we were like, what can we do that will be really fun with a bunch of people who have played music, and we just decided to put together something new,” Cetron said.
Although Some Kind of Jet Pilot focused on writing and playing original music, Half the City decided to move in a different direction and started off mainly playing covers, in order to jump-start the process of putting a new band on its feet.
“We really wanted to have something we could have a lot of fun with really quickly,” Cetron said. “Playing covers gives you an opportunity to do that.”
Owens added that writing and playing original music is simultaneously enjoyable and stressful, agreeing that playing covers has been a positive experience for both the band and their audience.
“When you play original music, you’re really exposing yourself in a lot of ways,” Owens said. “That’s part of what makes it a lot of fun, that you’re displaying both your live musicianship and your songwriting abilities, but it’s also stressful when you’re on stage and you’re wondering how it’s going to be received, so just starting off with covers has allowed us to have a ton of fun, and I think the people who have come to our shows have enjoyed it too.”
However, Half the City is looking to slowly incorporate a few original pieces into its repertoire. The band wants to work on originals and looks to have a diverse set this year, Cetron said.
The band aims to play in four to five shows per term. Last fall, the group performed at a few fraternities, BarHop, Sarner Underground and One Wheelock.
Half the City played their first show of the winter term at FNR in Sarner Underground on Jan 15. The band opened for another student band, Cafuné, from New York University.
FNR general manager Tyler Fritz ’16, who booked the band for FNR, was also responsible for booking the band for BarHop in the fall.
“They always do a really good job when they play,” Fritz said.
Fritz explained that the pairing made sense because Half the City not only had similar musical origins and a compatible sound to Cafuné, but also could garner new interest for the venue among the Dartmouth student body.
“They brought in a new demographic of people that might not normally come to Friday Night Rock shows, so we had them for the first show of the term,” Fritz said. “Some people, who have never been to FNR before, came to see their friends in a band.”
Half the City welcomed the opportunity to play with a band from outside Dartmouth.
“Opening for outside acts forces us to have a high standard for our music,” Shanker said.
When putting together a set list for each show, the members of Half the City try to include a range of genres while also taking into account the nature of the venue.
The band utilizes its repertoire of covers of familiar and popular songs when playing in venues where people like to dance, whereas, in quieter venues, they can play an “exhibition show.”
“Places like One Wheelock and BarHop give us the opportunity to play an exhibition show, where we try to show off our skill,” Silva said.
While none of the members of Half the City plan on pursuing a career in music after graduating from Dartmouth, they all expressed interest in having music continue to play a role in their lives post-graduation.
“I don’t think any of us are going to stop doing music,” Owens said. “It’s going to be hard to stop because it’s such a fun part of all of our lives.”
Half the City will next take the stage for a two hour set at the Fresh event organized by the Dartmouth Organic Farm and the Dartmouth Sustainability Project on Feb. 6.