By Riley Eisenbeil
The College Union Board’s Alternative group, or “CUB ALT,” kicked off the semester with their first concert featuring headliner Peter McPoland and opener Loveseat Pete.
Approximately 180 students filled room 225E in the Brower Student Center for the free indie, alternative concert on Sept. 19. Doors opened at 7 p.m. but a line started forming about an hour before.
Loveseat Pete performed eight songs, including seven originals and one cover. Formed in Asbury Park amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the group started with a song they dropped in July titled “Polly.” Following that, they treated the audience to all four songs from their debut EP “God Damn, Give Up,” released in 2021, along with a few singles.
“You guys really brought the crowd with you,” said lead vocalist Vinny Nigro. “We’re ecstatic about that.”
Their crowd-pleaser was a lively cover of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone.”
After their performance, the band sold merchandise and handed out free stickers at the back of the room.
Following a 15-minute intermission, McPoland walked on stage to play his first-ever New Jersey show.
“This is me if you boiled down everything, this is all I am,” said McPoland at the beginning of his set. “This is a really primitive set, you gotta bear with me, everyone put on a brave face… We’re doing deep tracks all night.”
During an interview moderated by CUB ALT Event Coordinator Theresa Lubitsky, a junior public health major, McPoland revealed that he performs best when it’s a “manic, last-minute attempt to put anything together.”
So naturally, he explained that he prepped the set list and practiced his dialogue between songs by talking to his wall the night before.
During both the interview and the performance, McPoland showcased a raw side of himself. Between pointing out fans wearing his merch in the room, saying hello to familiar faces in the crowd and sharing stories and laughter, the show had a really intimate feel.
“I really loved how much he interacted with the crowd,” said senior speech language pathology major Shelly Bennett. “He was so kind and down to earth.”
During the interview, McPoland mentioned that when he used to perform at 18 years old, it was just him, an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, and that’s what he was bringing out on stage.
“It’s not me anymore, but it’s kind of a sweet throwback,” he said.
During the opening set, Nigro joked about McPoland resembling a character from “Finding Nemo.” The crowd loved it when McPoland emerged with a harmonica resembling Darla's headgear.
Throughout the night, McPoland debuted unreleased tracks at the show and revisited a few past releases like “Elouise” and “(Here’s to the) Prom Queen” while sharing insight into what the songs meant to him.
“I loved how he talked about the story behind so many of his songs,” said Bennett. “I think songs have so much more of an effect on people if we are able to interpret their meanings.”
McPoland also delivered a performance of a song he claimed to have played more frequently than any other, titled “To The Big Sleep,” which he had removed from Spotify a couple of years ago during his pursuit of a record deal.
“This song doesn’t really ever get played so you might not know it,” he said. “You probably won’t, but dammit if I didn’t love it at one point.”
As a nod to his beginnings on TikTok, McPoland surprised the audience with a slowed, acoustic version of Dua Lipa’s “Levitating,” the cover featured on his first video on the app.
When the video was brought up in the pre-show interview, McPoland said he initially had no plans to include a cover in his set, but he later reconsidered and decided to treat the crowd to this unexpected rendition.
As his set neared its end, he performed one of his most popular songs, “Romeo & Juliet,” a track that holds special significance since he taught himself how to be a producer with it.
“Every time I play it I get tears in my eyes,” he said in the interview. “I love it so much, I love it like a baby.”
In 2022, McPoland went on tour for his album “Slow Down,” and just a few months afterward he had the opportunity to open for Twenty One Pilots. As excitement builds, McPoland is set for tour again in October to showcase his newest album, “Piggy.”
“I’m very much looking forward to the tour,” he shared in the pre-show interview. “I think I was made to be nomadic, I think I should just never stop moving.”