By Sarah Hayes, A&E Editor
Raising awareness for sustainability and running outdoor activities for students is definitely not cheap. That is something all too familiar to the Environmental Adventure Organization (EAO). One of the biggest ways that EAO has been raising money, as well as visibility for their organization, is through the Rock ‘n’ Roots concert series, which officially kicked off this spring.
The second Rock ‘n’ Roots concert took place in the J.C. Penney Conference Center’s auditorium on July 9 at 6 p.m. Concert goers could either pay 10 bucks at the door or donate eight dollars to the campus group’s GoFundMe page as a more direct donation. All proceeds earned during the evening went towards helping EAO maintain regular operations and conduct more activities.
First on the JCP stage was Joseph Belsher, graduate, economics, who has been a familiar musical face around the University of Missouri–St. Louis campus. He performed at the premiere Rock ‘n’ Roots in April, held in the same auditorium as the second event, and the UMSL Writers’ Group spring open mic, a spring event which was held in the Pilot House at the Millennium Student Center. Belsher’s raw acoustic sound and emotionally open lyrics set the stage for the rest of the night’s performances, and it certainly did not hurt that he took requests from the audience. After several original songs as well as a Nirvana cover and an Elliott Smith cover, the audience was properly prepped for the rest of the line-up.
The second band to take the stage did not have a name, but they were made up of Matt Kazmier and his friends, David Jay and Tyler Votaw, senior, computer science. Votaw is also a member of EAO. Their band brought an energy to the stage through their rock music that would continue through the following bands’ performances until the end of the night.
Ohanzee, led by Jacob Beers, sophomore, communications, was another Rock ‘n’ Roots return, having formed only shortly before the first program. They brought to the second concert a Black Keys revival, as they covered “Tighten Up” and “Lonely Boy” during their set. They kept the sweet blue-tinged rock steady through their performance, bringing an electric energy to the stage that kept the audience in tune from start to finish.
Even though all of Looprat’s impressive ensemble did not show up for Rock ‘n’ Roots, their MCs still rocked the stage as the fourth act of the night, backed by pre-recorded music. This jazz-rap group was represented by MCs Mugen, NatKingFlo, Will-Be Drums, and David Bohlen. While Looprat’s performance lacked live backing music, it was still represented in spirit, as Looprat performed several of its newest tracks before promoting their album release concert at Cicero’s on July 29.
Shotgun Abby continued with their four-man rock ensemble group. Shawn Telkamp performed as lead vocalist, with Ross Watson and Matt Klose on guitar and Jeremey Carpenter on bass. While it was a shame that their drummer, Donnell Robinson, was not on stage to give their set some percussion, the guitar work was more than capable of holding up on its own.
Taradiddle was the last show, led by Jen Galinski with Zach Colonius, David Jay, and Tyler Votaw. Unfortunately, because of miscommunication on stage, most of the audience had left before their set, mistakenly believing that Shotgun Abby was the last show of the night. For those who missed Galinski and Taradiddle’s set, some of their music can be found streaming on Galinski’s SoundCloud page and her YouTube Channel.
The event itself was well attended for a Saturday night summer concert, with groups of people spread out across the auditorium seating. According to EAO’s Facebook page, the group raised nearly 400 dollars the night of July 9. Votaw stated that Rock ‘n’ Roots 3 will likely return in the fall, although whether it will retain its original title or be reborn under a different series name remains to be seen.
Information about EAO can be found at their OrgSync page as well as on the group’s Facebook. The organization is still taking monetary donations to keep their group funded during the rest of the year.