A typical sight on a Wednesday night at Shippensburg’s Thought Lot includes around a dozen people combined with a few acoustic guitars and a handful of amateur musicians and comedians sprawled across the old, mismatched couches under dim lighting. However, Nov. 20 was not a typical Wednesday night. The Thought Lot traded in its laid back, low-key open mic night for a night of rock ‘n’ roll.
The bands in the original lineup were Chambersburg-based Black Black Beast, Shippensburg favorite and Thought Lot regular Big Marge, North Carolina’s Junior Astronomers and West Virginia’s Rozwell Kid. However, Big Marge was unable to perform due to an illness in the band.
Despite Big Marge’s cancellation, more than 50 people still attended.
“For a Wednesday, getting a group of people like this to show up is fantastic,” said Lennon Free, Thought Lot board member and volunteer.
“We do an open mic night here every Wednesday and get maybe 15 people,” Free said. “But tonight we have three bands and over 50 people. It’s an excellent night.”
The show started around 7:30 p.m. with Black Black Beast. The band’s unique, no-vocal songs were complemented by audio from the ‘90s science-fiction TV show, “The X Files.” It played the audio from the show in between songs, keeping audience members engaged and anxious to hear more.
Black Black Beast played several songs from its first EP, including “Hatris,” “P’Radikus Conflict” and “Black Ghost Lightning,” which is the only Black Black Beast song that is not named after a video game.
“The fact that Black Black Beast was instrumental was very unique,” audience member Chris Smucker said.
Junior Astronomers, from Charlotte N.C., played next.
“It’s really cool that this place [the Thought Lot] can get bands from different areas,” Smucker said.
Junior Astronomers’ lead singer Terrence Richard explained the band stopped at the Thought Lot on its way to play a show the following day at The Cake Shop in Manhattan, N.Y. and is very pleased with the space.
“This is our second time at the Thought Lot,” Richard said. “It’s funny three-fourths of the places we play are studio or art galleries.”
Junior Astronomer’s unique sound could be vaguely classified as rock, though Richard prefers to stay away from restricting his band to one genre. “Genres tend to pigeonhole us,” he said.
After Junior Astronomers’ set, Rozwell Kid finished the night with a 45-minute set.
Veterans to the local music scene will recognize Rozwell Kid’s members, which include Jordan Hudkins, formerly of the West Virginia band The Demon Beat and Sean Hallock, who previously served as drummer for the Chambersburg bands, The Shackeltons, and Bratcore.
Rozwell Kid’s sound has been compared to that of ‘90s rock bands, Weezer and Dinosaur Jr.
The band’s performance was energetic and fun. Lead singer Hudkins dedicated the final portion of his set to Junior Astronomers, reminding the band members that no matter where they are on tour they are looking at the same night stars as Rozwell Kid.
Hudkins then proceeded to leave the stage to perform on a couch alongside the audience and ultimately the floor.
Hudkins’ chemistry and energy with the audience solidified his title as performer, not just musician.
Rozwell Kid released two music videos this year. One of the videos was for its upbeat, alternative rock song “Unmacho,” which was played at Wednesday’s show. The other was in collaboration with the Pennsylvania-based band Sleeping Bag, for the song “Chinchilla.”
The trippy video featuring animated fang-toothed ice-cream sandwiches and guitar-playing sundaes recently premiered on Esquire.com.
Admission to the show was $10, though $5 was accepted for those who could not afford $10. According to Free, who handled the money, the total earnings from the show were “well over $200,” which he said is “outstanding for a weekday show.”
The bands kept 70 percent of the money from the show while the Thought Lot kept 30 percent.
Wednesday nights at the Thought Lot will return to being reserved for open mic night.
For more information on upcoming shows visit www.thethoughtlot.com. For additional information on the bands, visit blackblackbeast.bandcamp.com, rozwellkid.bandcamp.com and juniorastronomers.bandcamp.com.
Check out the video for footage from the show and interviews with the bands!