On Jan. 18, WBRS hosted its first event of the year, “WBRS Presents: Sunflower Bean with Haybaby,” in Cholmondeley’s Coffee House. The event was created and organized by April Ginns ’22, the club’s music director, and Anna Bartusis ’20, the live event coordinator. Inspired to bring the world of indie rock to the Brandeis campus, the two put on a concert that transformed Chum’s from a quiet coffeehouse to a lively, energetic concert venue decorated with rainbow-colored lights and posters.

A show’s opener, Haybaby, is a sludge pop-slop rock band from Brooklyn, New York.  They captivated the audience with their melancholic and shy lyrics carried out with a punk flair. The lead singer, Leslie Hong, performed with such visceral emotion which left the audience in awe of their performance. Songs like “New Friends” and “Get Down” were crowd favorites. The lyrics were a highlight of their performances, with tongue-in-cheek phrases such as, “We never got along, I think, I think Drake got it all wrong.” The overall mood of their show was warm and inviting, which mimicked the intimate atmosphere of listening to their music in your own room. In an interview with the Justice, Gabe Trevino ’20 complimented the band’s performance and engagement with the audience: “I’m really glad that I came out tonight because I would have regretted it if I didn’t. I didn’t know much about Haybaby prior to their performance, but in the end, I’m so glad that WBRS was able to get this amazing band on campus.” Overall, it was a great way to start the show and the interactions between the band and the audience were filled with laughter and joy.

Sunflower Bean, the headliner of the show, came on stage and was quickly greeted with cheers from the crowd. Sunflower Bean is an indie rock trio from New York, formed by Nick Kivlen (singer/guitarist), Julia Cumming (singer/bassist) and Jacob Faber (drummer). Joining the band for the show was keyboardist Danny Ayala (formerly of the band The Lemon Twigs). The group has previously opened on tours for bands such as Cage The Elephant, Beck, DIIV, The Vaccines and Best Coast. Their energy was clearly translated to the crowd as everyone started jumping and waving their hands to the rhythm of the songs. Popular songs like “Fear City,” “Twentytwo” and “I Was a Fool” were anticipated by the crowd, who joyfully sang along with the band as they played. The lead singer, Cumming, engaged with the audience on a level that was beyond expected at Chum’s, coming off the stage to sing in the middle of the audience and getting everyone into a choreographed dance. 

The crowd was brought to their feet when the multi-talented musicians picked up different instruments for their solo performances. Even more so, during the middle of one of their more energetic songs, the audience formed a mosh pit and a student was lifted up above everyone to crowd surf. 

After the performances, Anna Bartusis ’20 told the Justice how much she enjoyed the show, “That was the first time I’ve ever been in a mosh pit. I couldn’t have asked for a better venue. Sunflower Bean were the most energetic, fun band that I’ve ever seen. They really worked the crowd, and this was honestly the best show I’ve seen at Chum’s in a long time,” she said. In my two years of working at Chum’s and several music concerts here, I can say that, without a doubt, Sunflower Bean was the most interactive, dynamic band that really knew how to connect with the audience in order to create a wonderful, fun environment. 

The concert was a success in an effort to bring Brandeis students to experience and indulge in the world of indie and punk rock. WBRS remains an important aspect to our student life by hosting events which are dedicated to showcasing different styles and genres of music and performances.