Rockin’ with High Pot Noose

“The Colgate music sky saw the rise of a new star” is probably too poetic even for an article about music. “Hey, guys! Did you go to see the new band at Nichols and its cool gigs!” would be an inappropriate start of a music review in the college newspaper with the longest tradition in New York State; the author of the writing style guide would not approve of it. So here goes: A concert took place at Nichols and Beal February 15 at 10 p.m. that displayed the talents of Colgate’s newest band.

Like dozens of other people, I ended up at Nichols and Beal, rocking to the tunes of the new band, High Pot Noose. The band consists of six Colgate students: lead singer senior Krystle Williams, senior Greg Beyer on the keyboard, junior Jeff Fein on the acoustic guitar, junior Ben Cerio on the drums, junior Donald Boyajian on the electric guitar and first-year Mark Falcon on the bass.

The music they played was captivating; the audience transformed from a scattered bunch of hesitant individuals into a rocking crowd. The refined and remarkably confident expression of the band made one wonder how long they had been playing together. When somebody curiously asked, the band members nonchalantly answered that they had been playing together for only two weeks.

How did it all start? Interestingly enough, talk about starting a band began at another musical event last semester. Fein wanted to put together a band, so he made some phone calls, and at the “Save the Ales” night in the Commons, Fein, Williams and others were already talking about getting together and playing music this semester.

During winter break, an e-mail was sent out with the subject line “Super band” addressed to all but one of the current members (they were still missing a bass player). Not wanting to borrow one from another group, they launched a campaign for their own bass player. Not only did they put up fliers in first-year dorms, but Williams and Fein sat in front of the O’Connor Campus Center (COOP) and improvised a song called “Bassist Blues.”

That’s how they got the first-year Mark Falcon to join. Falcon has ample experience from his band’s (Brayton’s Way) various venues in New York City. Remarking on the enjoyable experience of playing with upperclassmen, Falcon said, “I got to meet new people and learn of a different life style in Colgate.”

Once they had the members, they needed a name, “Super band” being far from ingenious. For a while, Hicks and Islanders was a possibility. That was turned down, because of the band members’ heterogeneous origins and possibly also because it sounds more like a title of an adventure novel. They could have been called Moist, but a band like that already exists in the land of the red maple. Finally, the band members unanimously voted to call themselves High Pot Noose, which is surely original and possibly expresses their common affiliation to math.

Apparently, this seemingly random assemblage of people worked out perfectly. After their first practice in the La Casa dining room, they already had three songs completed; it just clicked. “Everyone was so ridiculously talented, so we could adjust to each other,” Williams said.

Their repertoire of music is put together through a democratic selection based on the members’ suggestions. Fein has written several songs, and the Nooses are now involved in the promising process of composing their own songs. Falcon disclosed that the songs “are written by everyone in the band so it’s nice to hear the musical influences in the originals by the people who write them.”

The hit of their first concert was an adapted version of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone.” The lead vocalist, Williams, commented that the song “really lets me hit the high notes.” The piece was appreciated by long applause from the audience. The only tacit setback of the night was that the audience had to be composed of people over 21 years of age.

When I asked Falcon about the band’s prospects for the future, I got an honest declaration: “We just want to play and have fun as much as possible this semester.” They are doing charity too; their next performance will be at a banquet on Saturday in the Edge Caf?e, organized to help raise money for the Breast Cancer Awareness Coalition. Tentatively, performances in the Jug and at private events are in the planning. I suspect that the High Pot Noose will play again and capture even more people than it did the first time around.