By Alyssa Serrano
Cameras were at the ready, producers were on standby and audience members held their breath in excitement as music filled the air at WTSR’s semi-annual event, WTSR Underground, on Feb. 18 and 19 in the Kendall Hall TV studio.
WTSR is the College’s student-run noncommercial campus radio station, and WTSR Underground is their biggest event. Siobhan Kelly, a sophomore communications major, was really looking forward to it.
“I missed last semester’s [WTSR Underground], but I made sure I was able to go to this semester’s,” Kelly said. “I knew I didn’t want to miss it.”
Saturday’s show began with The Flying Moonmen from Robert’s Basement. The band’s performance reflected their name as it was otherworldly. They were very lively and eccentric and put on an engaging performance.
The next performer on Saturday’s roster was Fox Teeth. Fox Teeth’s music is a mix of alternative and pop punk, and a combination of their sound and lyrics brought a lot of energy to the show.
The WTSR Music Director, Julia Landi, a senior English major, played lead guitar for the next band, t@b grrrl. T@b grrrl’s performance switched the mood from pop punk to a more angsty and angry performance that reflected a little bit of the early 90s punk sound.
Saturday’s performance ended with high energy from the last performers, Cherry Ridge. The band is an alt-rock group and was described as “fun” and “comical” by WTSR Station Manager, Halle Koches, a junior music major. In between the recordings of their own songs, the band even treated the staff and audience to a cover of “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers.
The Sunday show consisted of five local performers: Dylan Waterman, AM Reflection, Similar Kind, Late Cambrian and Fruit Dawg.
Dylan Waterman, a south jersey local, was the first act to go on and he started the day out with some chill rock.
Rachel Castria, a senior communications major and social media staff member of WTSR, said Waterman was her favorite.
“He had a great vibe,” Castria said. “It was perfect. It was our first act, and he came in with mellow rock, and I just really liked it overall.”
Waterman’s debut EP, “Kid Capricorn,” was released in January 2020 and features a mix of folk, pop, jazz and soul styles.
Kelly also said the second and third acts, AM Reflection and Similar Kind, were “very energetic.”
“It was clear they liked what they were doing,” Kelly said. “They both had a really good stage presence, and I really enjoyed that. I can’t wait to love them up on Spotify later.”
AM Reflections’ music is alternative rock whereas Similar Kind’s music has more of an indie pop sound.
The next act was Late Cambrian, a Brooklyn-based indie rock group, who like the other groups also stole the hearts of audience members. Sophomore journalism and communications major Jenna Rittman was one of these fans.
“I really liked Late Cambrian,” Rittman said. “I was able to interview them, and they were just very nice, and it was cool being able to learn about their lyrics and process.”
Indie group, Fruit Dawg, was the fifth and final act of Sunday’s performances. They performed three of their songs, including, “I Heart U Carol,” which is one of their top five songs on Spotify.
In order to promote and garner attention for an event as big as this one, Castria said Instagram is one of the most important tools.
“TCNJ runs on Instagram,” she said. “I think the best way to get people to know about things like this is through posting a lot on Instagram stories, but word of mouth is also a really important way of spreading news of events.”
Clubs are a huge part of campus life at the College, so when it comes to advertising, social media can be pivotal to whether an event is successful or not.
According to several audience members, it’s really joining the community at WTSR that brought them to the event.
“I like being able to make new friends, being a part of the community, and listening and seeing local bands I wouldn’t really know about otherwise,” Rittman said.