State Radio Takes Over the HOP

Katie Rice

Colgate students braved the cold night on Thursday, February 10 to see the State Radio concert pre­sented by Colgate Activities Board (CAB) and Students Taking Action Now: Darfur (STAND) at the Hall of Presidents. Despite warnings of a sold-out show, the HOP was just barely half-full at the start of the concert. More students trickled in and out throughout the night, but the crowd was never much larger than 200 students. The three person band, made up of singer/lead guitar­ist Chad Stokes, bassist Chuck Fay and drummer Mike “Mad Dog” Najarian, took the stage a couple of minutes before 11:00 p.m. After a quick greeting, the band launched into their set. The first song had some heads bopping, but it took most a few songs to warm up to the band.

State Radio’s songs blended reggae, alter­native rock, punk and ska together to cre­ate a sound that is all their own. Though the genres sometimes became muddled together, most songs were artfully arranged. The guitar and drum heavy choruses were broken up by slower, more reggae inspired verses that high­lighted Chad Stoke’s voice. Stoke began his music career at Middlebury College in One Fell Swoop, which eventually became the pop­ular genre-bending band Dispatch. After their breakup in 2004, Stokes went on to form State Radio. All of the band members are known for their humanitarian efforts, with many of their songs’ lyrics inspired by current events. The band even played a new song about the cri­sis in Haiti and encouraged the fans to pledge their support. Along with raising awareness on their tours, Stokes has started a non-profit organization called “Calling All Crows” that does humanitarian work in Boston, the band’s hometown, and around the world.

Stokes speaks and acts just as passionately about his humanitarian work as he does his music. Throughout the whole concert, the band members seemed to really enjoy themselves. Stokes and Fay, the bass­ist, played close together, heads nodding, with their eyes closed. It felt like a glimpse into their jam sessions. Adding to the laid-back feel of the show, drummer Mad Dog in­vited a dedicated fan, Will, up onstage to jam with the band for a few minutes. Will follows the band on their tours and the band members joke with him; “Mad Dog” even sang some of the lines from “Ice, Ice Baby” on request from Will. Though some of the students at the very front of the crowd were die-hard, singing along to all the songs, most Colgate students were happily bopping to the music, enjoying the band’s vibe.

Stokes elicited a roar from the crowd, when he asked, “Who’s going to the Jug tonight?” and then started into the final songs of the show. Close to midnight, the band left the stage, thanking Colgate for a great night, but after cries for “one more song!” they returned to play a few of their most popular songs. On the way out the door, Stokes talked to fans, took pictures, signed autographs and even promised to be at Nichol’s later that night.