by Devon Musgrave-Johnson
When the Horn Gallery opened its doors on Friday for a concert featuring Mal Devisa and Swings, the few students who had been waiting awkwardly outside trickled in. This might have seemed like a bad omen for the rest of the performance, but thankfully the show hit full swing by the end of the night.
More experienced concert-goers who knew not to arrive at a Horn show on time showed up fashionably later. While the bands present — Mal Devisa and Swings, with Kenyon’s own Mortal Combat as the opening act — did not inspire moshing or wild dancing at any point in the night, their music did incite head-bobbing and toe-tapping.
“I could definitely feel a good vibe,” Austin Hulse ’19 said. “It was a lot of fun and it seemed like a really positive environment.”
Both Mal Devisa and Swings are musical acts that are finding a balance between attending classes, touring around the country and working to produce albums.
Devisa, who is a as soulful as she is skillful, is about to start recording her third album. Her first two, 4U and For Daisy with Honey, are currently available on Bandcamp.
Devisa said she will stay true to the sounds of her live performances, which reflects an indie-soul style and often include elements of spoken word. Her powerful sound and talent on the bass guitar reverberated at the Horn as audience members stood in appreciation of the surreal nature of her music.
“I think that everyone experiences music in a different way, which is part of what makes it so rad to be in a crowd of 30 different people who have 30 different stories,” Devisa said before her performance. And even as the gathered crowd eclipsed 30 people, the sentiment of her statement rang true.
Swings, a band composed of Dan Howard, Jamie Finucane and Zach Lewton, are juniors at Oberlin and Hampshire Colleges. The band is currently in the process of finishing their second album. They are getting ready to tour across the country this fall, something they are taking the semester off to do.
“I’m really excited to get to see so many parts of the country that I’ve never been to and to be able to play our music in so many different places,” Lewton said.
By the time the band began their set, it was hard to discern the real hipsters from those coming from the ’90s-themed party “Fresh Prince of Gambier,” which was being hosted by the Archons at the same time as the show. In any case, the general atmosphere remained positive.
Overall, the night was mellow but successful. According to Horn co-managers Sonia Prabhu ’16 and Lane Yates ’18, the goal of the Horn is to provide students with a fun and safe place to decompress. This goal was certainly met on Friday.