Common Core, a professor-alumni rock band, made their second appearance last night in Walker’s Pub. The set began with a tenor saxophone solo by Dr. David Hicks. As the cool sound of brass filled the air, spectators took to their seats for the performance. When the solo dimmed to a softer volume, the remaining five members of the band approached the stage. Slinging their guitars around their necks and manning their drum kit and keyboard thrones, the full band exploded into song in congruence with the saxophone solo. In the background, a steady click of a hi-hat combined with grounding low tones from a bass to form the foundation of the music. Two guitars and keyboard layered the song with strumming and soulful licks between the break of the saxophone. As the saxophone solo declined into longer notes, Scott Hauck and Dr. Fabrice Usman let loose a stream of alternating guitar solos. The combination of a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Telecaster fused the sounds of two classic guitars; the Les Paul providing a heavier, earthier sound and the Fender producing brighter and more vibrant tones. In the midst of the soloing the ascending melody of the bass line, maintained by Dr. Tim Trenary, cued me in on the song they were performing. The ensuing lyrics solidified my guess. The instruments cut out for an opening in the lyrics: Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone. Immediately after, the rest of band followed in beat with their parts of the song.
The Common Core rendition of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” was covered 45 years after its original release in 1971. Despite adding a few instruments and solos to the songs structure, Common Core’s cover was still played with the groove and soul intended for its performance four and a half decades prior. After concluding the song, the band continued their set.
The band's flexibility and multi-talented instrumentalists showed off their skills throughout the rest of the performance. In a cover of Van Morrison’s “Domino,” drummer Sujata Fretz and Fabrice Usman switched roles to provide a freestyle rap verse for the audience. Shortly afterward, slave spiritual “O Mary Don’t You Weep” was introduced with a four part vocal harmony from different members of the band. Lastly, Common Core played The Weight, composed in 1968 by The Band. The cover was performed in spirit of guitarist Scott Hauck who would soon be leaving the band for life in Wisconsin. In celebration of the show’s conclusion, The Weight was sung by multiple members of Common Core. Dr. Eric Fretz left his seat at the keyboard for the microphone at main stage to start the song. The rest of the band then met Fretz at the chorus before dividing each ensuing verse to another band member. Having successfully performed their first set in Walker’s pub, Common Core will enter a small hiatus in absence of guitarist and vocalist Scott Hauck. Having established themselves as a refined cover band, the members now look to experiment with their own writing for upcoming productions. Stay tuned to KRCX for further updates on concerts, shows and performances. Until then, thanks for reading at KRCX.