As the midnight hour approached on Saturday night, Virginia Coalition took the stage at the Palace Theater and was greeted with substantial applause from the Colgate students inattendance. The house lights went down, the stage lights went up,Virginia Coalition struck their first chord and the concert was under way.
Originating from Alexandria, Virginia, Virginia Coalition started off as a basement band, playing only locally. Comprised of guitarist Andy Poliakoff, keyboardist and percussionist Paul Ottinger and bassist Jarrett Nicolay, these high school friends have been striving to take their music to new levels, using their most recent album as a jumping-off point to write more serious and insightful lyrics. Their hard work and determination have paid off, as they have grown into one of the best selling folk bands in the United States, claiming the number one spot for folk albums on iTunes for their new album Home This Year.
Known for their energy and enthusiasm on stage, Virginia Coalition’s concert featured many songs from their new album Home This Year, as well as several of their hits from older albums. In the songs on this new album, Virginia Coalition sought to create a unique sound using combinations of the music that has influenced them as inspiration. Some of their music has a funk feeling to it, some is more pop, and some is more soulful. These different genres all add an interesting flair to the predominantly folk sound of the band.
Elements and influences both new and old came together on Saturday night for the band and for the Colgate students in attendance, with the “eclectic” mixes and variations providing something to look forward to in every song.
However, while the insight and sound of the music itself did not seem to be lacking, the poor attendance did not create the exciting, compelling vibe necessary for a really great concert. Students began heading to the exit doors relatively early. A student described the scene as a “mass exodus to Slices within twenty minutes of the band coming on stage.”
Virginia Coalition fan and first-year Damien Bono, who was looking forward to the concert for some time, was disappointed by the band’s performance.
“There was nobody there,” Bono said. “They started playing songs about lonely cowboys, so I left.”
With Virginia Coalition flying up from Texas to perform and incurring a great expense to do so, as they revealed onstage, it is unfortunate that there weren’t more people there to hear their music live and take in what could have been a great show.