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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

From radio waves to Rick’s Cafe’s stage: WMSV 20th anniversary concert brings rising acts to Starkville

John and Jacob had Zorba’s Greek Tavern all shook up Monday night with its 1950s vibe and buoyant melodies.

John and Jacob, a quintet hailing from Nashville, Tenn., pulled into town on the tail of a stint at SXSW and in euphoric spirits over an offer to join Bonnaroo’s summer lineup.  

Currently stationed in Nashville on a songwriting contract with Major Bob Music, John and Jacob’s songs have been recorded by The Band Perry and featured on the television show “Nashville.” 

John & Jacob has also toured with The Band Perry and fellow Nashville-based band The Wild Feathers. 

Even more deceptive than a quintet sporting a duo’s name is the band itself. A conglomeration of southern roots from Alabama to Texas, John Davidson, lead singer, said the band describes itself as not quite country but more country than songs on the radio.

“We’re missing key phrases like ‘trucks’ and ‘tailgates,’” Davidson said in jest. 

He said the band’s sound manifested itself over the past decade and further develops as the band writes together. Original band members Davidson and Jacob Bryant initially began to play together during their high school years in a small town outside Birmingham, Ala. 

In fashion with the band’s diverse sound, bassist Jake Brasher graduated with a degree in biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham before he said he realized his passion lay in a music career rather than medical school. Brasher traded EKG beats for bass lines and joined with his cousin, Davidson, Bryant and drummer Trevor Davis in 2011. Last year, the quintet added its final member, keyboardist Austin Taylor Smith, a professionally trained vocalist from Belmont University.

Monday’s show served as a kick-off for WMSV’s 20th anniversary party. The band played an hour-long set illuminated by the phosphorescent glow of Budweiser signs and minimal stage lights. An over-population of plastic cups filled to the brim with green Pabst Blue Ribbon, an ode to St. Patrick himself, also filled the night.

The band began its set with a humble thanks to the audience and encouraged the crowd to come forward and dance, an invitation accompanied by a green beer thrust in the air. The show wandered through a myriad of sounds, displaying the band’s mélange. 

Tucker Napier, senior graphic design major, said the band’s show reminded him of a famous pop group from across the pond. 

“It has an early Beatles vibe that’s harmony-driven,” Napier said mid-show. 

Napier’s comment was not the first Beatles comparison of the night. 

Steve Ellis, director of WMSV radio, likened the band to the Beatles during its early British Invasion days. With its bright beats and jubilant expressions, John and Jacob lived up to the lofty comparison.

The harmony-driven tunes held constant throughout the show. Bryant pulled out a trumpet mid-show, and the band contributed a chorus of whistles during “Be My Girl,” an effortless tune of blithe affection that had the entire audience swaying along to the melody. 

After heading back to Nashville for the remainder of the week, John and Jacob return to Starkville to headline WMSV’s 20th anniversary concert Saturday night at Rick’s Café.

Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show kicks-off with Big Country’s Empty Bottle, a bluegrass quintet out of Knoxville, Tenn., at 8 p.m. 

Next, Nashville-based band Los Colognes is set to perform. Los Colognes arrives in Starkville fresh from a four-day session at SXSW and will join John and Jacob at the Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, Ala., in May. 

Drummer Aaron Mortenson said he describes Los Colognes’s sound as “laid-back blues, with a boogey vibe.” 

“We want everyone to come out, let loose, relax. It should be a fun night for everyone,” Mortenson said.

Mortenson said Los Colognes has been together for over a decade but has only performed under the moniker “Los Colognes” for the past four years. 

Los Colognes’s show at Rick’s Cafe comes just before its show at Nashville’s famed Mercy Lounge as a part of its “March Radness” tour. 

This is the second time Los Colognes and John and Jacob have headlined a show together — the first being earlier this year at the notable 3rd and Lindsley bar in Nashville. 

Ellis said the WMSV team searched high and low for Saturday night’s talent. 

Los Colognes and John and Jacob happened to be two bands on the rise not heard before in this region, and Ellis said the bands’ performances during their show in Nashville blew him away. 

Saturday’s triple-threat lineup, then, serves the same purpose Ellis said WMSV has served for 20 years.

“We (WMSV) have brought so much music to this community no one has ever heard before,” he said. “We thought we would continue that with bringing in these three new bands.” 

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From radio waves to Rick’s Cafe’s stage: WMSV 20th anniversary concert brings rising acts to Starkville