From local bars to possible summer tour

Boomer and Moose create new sounds, fun times


Group of U.Va. student showcase engaging southern rock all across campus.

After a long dynasty of bands on Grounds — from SGGL to Parachute to local household names like Kendall Street Company and Fenton — it’s hard to make a splash at the University as a musical group. However, Boomer and Moose — a group of second- and third-year Kappa Alpha, Zeta Psi and Beta Theta Pi men — seeks to swim in the local music waters through redefining their stage presence and sound.

Lead singer Andrew Norman, third-year College student, said his history of playing at bars with different musicians in bands like Kendall Street allowed him to meet the future members of Boomer and Moose — drummer Sam Sobell and keyboard player Andrew King, second-year College students, bassist Will Finn, second-year Engineering student and guitarist Andrew Harrington, Piedmont Virginia Community College student.

While the band started by simply messing around, jamming and playing at venues like Coupe’s and Boylan, it’s trying to de-structure their shows and play songs its members are passionate about.

With a potential summer tour in sight, the guys want to redefine their sound and wiggle out of the pressures of playing at local bars.

“We’re really just trying to get more gigs where we can play stuff we want to play,” Finn said. “We’re looser. We’ve wiggled out of the choppiness.”

Listening to this band practice on a rainy afternoon at the Kappa Alpha fraternity house is a breath of fresh air — a cluttered room filled with instruments, pedals and regular college guys hanging out, ready to play some music. Jazzy keyboard parts King set the tone for a casual jam session as funky, rhythmic sounds echoed and bounced off the walls. On Saturday night, the band took these sounds and rhythms to Boylan Heights to play a groovy set for a willing crowd.

Finn started out with a funky solo bassline, which prompted other instruments to join in — King coming up with riffs on the keys, Harrington playing some guitar notes reminiscent of ‘60s funk. As soon as the band started playing, students flocked towards them and began to sway and dance. Within minutes, students were up front, smiling at the band and singing along.

With Sobell pounding expertly on the drums, it was rare to see someone in the crowd who wasn’t tapping their foot or bobbing their head to the beat. The setlist led into some covers, but not the typical “Don’t Stop Believin’” or “Wonderwall” — one cover was John Mayer, a song from an early record, sung confidently by Norman. Harrington’s electric guitar and pedal board added a professional flair that made the gig something more than just a ragtag group of fraternity guys trying to make it.

The show reinforced the band’s presence on Grounds and allowed people to begin to see them at their core not only as musicians, but also as songwriters and performers. Every member of the group individually writes music, bringing pieces that they’ve been working on to fellow members and coming up with ideas together. They want to continue exploring those songs and creating their own signature sound without facing the pressure of sounding a certain way to accommodate intoxicated students at bars.

In terms of growing as a band, the only thing that seems to be holding them back is the lack of a signature sound. But, they’re taking it one step at a time.

“We just make stuff and like, it’s been coming out of us,” Finn said. “We don’t know what it is, but we like it.”

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