by JESSICA HOLLAN
When you are a reporter going to a concert, there is definitely something to be said about traveling with the performing band. For instance, nobody minds the large, professional-grade camera you are carrying around a closed sound check because hey, you’re with the band. It also means that you and that camera get backstage access because, once again, you’re with the band. You are practically a glorified groupie. You see it all: sound checks, rehearsals, backstage. That is, as long as you don’t forget the magic words: “Oh, I’m with the band.”
Those five little words were some that I threw left and right on Friday when I traveled with a Tiffin University student-made band as they opened for Aaron Carter.
Some of you may recall Aaron Carter from his glory years around the turn of the century, when he was the prepubescent voice behind hits like “Aaron’s Party” and “I Want Candy.” In 2013, he kicked new life into his music career and has been conducting pop up performances across the United States since then in preparation for his fifth album, LØVË, set to release later this year.
When Carter made a tour stop at the Odeon Concert Club in Cleveland on Sept. 2, TU students Ruby Santiago, Daniel Drockton, and Julius Eckroth took the stage as an opening under the moniker Hardly Left. Although it was the band’s debut performance, I must say that they killed it.
The set opened up on an original entitled “Everything Is All Right,” a fun, energetic piece that was meant to grab the audience’s attention and hype them up for the performance. It did so much more than that. By the second verse, there were already many screaming fangirls within that crowd.
The second song was a mash up of two famous pop songs: “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child and “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake. The band also covered Ariana Grande’s “Greedy” and “Titanium” by David Guetta and Sia. The crowd responded well to all three, especially “Greedy” in which Santiago showcased her amazing vocal range and Drockton rapped an original verse.
The band ended their performance on their second original piece, titled “We Run This Show,” which was another major crowd pleaser. Eckroth had his only vocal performance during the number, in which he rapped Watsky’s “Ninjas In Paris” and completely won over the crowd. I overhead many new fans ask the band if they had recorded the song after the show and compliment Eckroth for his superb looping capabilities and that rap break.
After their performance, the members of Hardly Left celebrated their success at Applebee’s (and I tagged along because, well, I’m with the band.) During dinner, all three performers expressed gratitude to have been given the opportunity to have been able to work with a star like Aaron Carter (who, we found out, has been signed for a three-record deal with Sony Music Entertainment).
“It was truly an amazing experience,” senior vocalist Daniel Drockton said. “It was great to have been able to perform with Ruby and Julius, and I am glad I will be able to do it again. It really was an opportunity of a lifetime.”
“It was awesome. I’m so glad the crowd responded so well to us.”
If you missed the show, be sure to check out Hardly Left on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Jazzin’ Tiffin.