Hidden deep beneath the main level of Cowell Hall, around 40 students swayed and head-bobbed to live music. With performances from San Francisco and Santa Cruz based bands Wyatt Smith and Heavenly Bother, KUSF hosted their second intimate basement show of the year.
Heavenly Bother took the figurative stage first – because the show took place in KUSF’s Cowell basement office, there was no room for a stage like most are accustomed to. Heavenly Bother are a guy-gal duo consisting of two guitars and a drum machine, with bass and keys thrown in here and there. The music was pretty simple, fun to listen to and it was obvious the group had a good time, as they played around with pedals and danced with the music. On the amp behind them were two defining objects: a green beret and a bag of Takis. What more could you need for a successful set?
Hailing from Santa Cruz, Heavenly Boother describes themselves as “soothing Santa Cruz souls.” They are mostly based in Bandcamp and play shows around Santa Cruz, occasionally traveling to San Francisco or Los Angeles as well. You can hear their recently released album “WORSHIP” on Bandcamp (specifically the songs “Better” and “Tears On My Toast”) for catchy, low energy jams that define the band.
The second band of the night, Wyatt Smith, came together with super tight tunes, some face melting and hip moving. The group almost doubled as a stand up act, with the lead singer joking around all night, chatting with audience members. This set brought the whole crowd together: some people hung out in the back while others hopped in the fray of people engaging in a controlled mess of movement.
Wyatt Smith have fine tuned their sound in a way that’s pretty compatible with their demeanor: laid back, casual, here for a good time. The band is on Bandcamp, Spotify and Instagram, where you can check out a couple of their songs, like “Rut” or “Free.”
Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” floated through the air between sets, as people sang loudly to each other, faces lit up and bodies swaying to the words, “Count the headlights on the highway / lay me down in sheets of linen.” The night was reminiscent of the time period during which Elton John wrote that song. In bringing together so many young people who identify with the same counter-cultural values and music, KUSF’s Basement Show created a community.
While the indie people at the show might not be as mobilized or solidified as the hippie movement of the 60s or the Bay Area punk rock scene of the 80s, it’s here, and that means something. If anything, this community is an important piece of the music scene at USF and the changing cultural landscape of San Francisco.