Stella Starfox, Lazy Summer put on electric show at The Pub

The two groups dazzled the crowd with tunes that everyone could enjoy.


Marley Henderson

Lazy Summer and Stella Starfox sharing the stage (Marley Henderson/Amherst Wire)

AMHERST — It’s rare that a concert features acts from two completely different genres, but students were treated to just that at the Amherst Pub Tuesday night.

The Rap and Roll Battle of the Bands Concert featured rock band Stella Starfox and rap group Lazy Summer, both of whom brought outstanding energy and tunes in their 45-minute sets.

The event was hosted by Mass Momentum, a class of marketing students in Isenberg, as part of an “Acura challenge” to help promote the new ILX and NSX car models. The challenge is a collegiate national advertising competition that Isenberg hopes to win after the great turnout at the show.

Stella Starfox opened the show at 9 p.m., setting up the stage on the dance floor at the center of the bar. The two lead singers, recent UMass grads Ben Gardner and Tommy Fucillo, bassist Matt Deluccia, drummer Simon Khoury and pianist/guitarist Matt Hatch got the action started on a high note. The performance showcased the group’s alternative and electronic instrumentation and unique vocals from both singers. While having very different voices, their chemistry was apparent as they vibed together throughout the show.

Their set featured two of their most popular singles, “Sardines” and “Run,” each of which bring together the best elements the group has to offer. From the guitar riffs to the banging drums and the funky piano notes, they seem to combine a clear passion for their work with plenty of talent. Hatch, who graduated from UMass Lowell, was one of the standout performances of the night. With a double-decker piano set up, it was incredible to see his fingers move quickly across the board and add another layer to the music. He even played the tambourine on a couple of songs.

The group closed out their set with a cover of “Electric Feel” that made me feel like I was listening to MGMT. Right after they wrapped it up, Lazy Summer approached the members to discuss a future collaboration. Stella Starfox impressed the crowd and certainly made me a newfound fan.

After a brief intermission featuring free food and photo shoots with the new Acura ILX parked outside, Stella Starfox cleared the stage and Lazy Summer prepared for an equally entertaining 15-track performance

The group features UMass seniors Brandon Huddleston, Warren Charleston and Ian Davis, all of whom collaborate to produce and rap over original tracks. They featured songs off their two projects “Lazy Summer” and “Spooky Tapes,” as well as a number of singles. Each recording had flavor, with smooth choruses and tight verses, and each member showed a unique approach to the performance.

Charleston is versatile in that he switches between singing and rapping and does so with a very melodic voice. He brought a lot of emotion whenever he stepped up to the mic last night. Davis often distorts his voice in his verses, bringing a dark and eerie vibe to the tracks. This made for a very animated performance, as he brought a lot of character to the stage. Then, Huddleston comes in with the aggressive bars, spitting intensely into the mic. He also made sure the audience was just as hyped as they were on stage. Despite their different styles, Lazy Summer’s performance had great synergy and it’s clear that this is a close-knit group.

The crowd was bouncing up and down throughout as they rode along with the bass-heavy and energetic beats. Halfway through, the group called to Gardner to play guitar during their performance, which added some great riffs to the beats. This created a different sound and feel than a traditional rap performance would have. Lazy Summer received a long ovation from the crowd as they played the last song of the night.

“We’re nothing without the fans and audience. Seeing all the people in the crowd enjoying themselves is what gives me fuel to go harder,” said Huddleston.

Both performances exemplify the great musical talent that has come out of UMass over the past few years. With help from student groups like Mass Momentum, there’s hope that local bands and artists can have more opportunities to play at these smaller venues in and around Amherst and share their music with their fans.

Whatever happens, Stella Starfox and Lazy Summer will both continue to make music, play shows and have fun. Lazy Summer plans to release another project by next month, so stay tuned for that. You can find both groups on Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud.

Email Oliver at [email protected].

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