April 24, 2014
The Downbeat Keys’ performance in the Sadove Basement on Friday, April 18, was an inspiring one. Their sound is best described as charged rock with a slight emphasis on dance-type beats. This unique mix of sound supports the upper register, smooth lead vocalist Kadahj Bennett ’12.
The band has played at Hamilton for several consecutive years. From what I’ve heard, their performances have steadily improved as they’ve gained more experience playing shows in New York City venues like Mercury Night Club.
It was refreshing to see the band not rely too heavily on their choruses, of which many pop bands are guilty. The basement erupted when the band played their hit song, “Lonely,” which simultaneously told an interesting story and provided the listener with an exciting backdrop suitable for dancing.
The venue was perfect for a band made up of Hamilton alumni. There was essentially no stage, allowing the band members to really interact with the crowd. At times, the audience and band became so intermingled that everyone was creating the music. Unlike most concerts, where the band and audience are clearly separated, at Hamilton students became part of the production. The show felt like an outlet for students to let loose after a strenuous week of classes.
This is a phenomenon that the Downbeat Keys themselves are undoubtedly familiar with as Hamilton alumni. In fact, (without making too many assumptions), this may have been the inspiration for their particular brand of beat-driven rock that allows listeners and performers alike to release their frustrations. Perhaps the Keys’ continual returns are not only celebrations of their roots but also cathartic performances back on the Hill.
Only five or so years ago, the Downbeat Keys were Hamilton students themselves, rocking out to concerts like this one. This just goes to show what Hamilton students are capable of. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that Hamilton students would be thrilled to have the Downbeat Keys return to the Hill next year.