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Krispies transcend musical boundaries with their unique sound

The band lit up Crozet Friday night, bringing music lovers a fresh taste of funk, pop and rock

<p>The variety of instruments is perhaps the selling point of the Krispies, along with their palpable stage presence.</p>

The variety of instruments is perhaps the selling point of the Krispies, along with their palpable stage presence.

Under the warm string lights that adorn Crozet’s outdoor seating area, bar goers tightly gathered around a stage taken on by Krispies Friday night for a memorable performance. The energy was electric as the seven members delivered a diverse sound — comprising three voices, two guitars, a bass, keyboard, fiddle and the occasional trumpet — that kept listeners fully immersed in the magic of their music.

Members include Cate Mangione, lead vocalist and second-year College student; Maxwell Mitchell, vocalist, rhythm guitarist and second-year College student; Matt McGraw, bassist and second-year College student; Jack Leonard, lead guitarist and second-year Engineering student; Cavan Meade, vocalist, violinist and second-year Engineering Student; Danny Freedman, keyboardist and second-year Engineering student and Bachelor Burt, drummer and second-year College Student.

Identifying as a Charlottesville-based “funk-pop-rock-folk” band in their Instagram bio, the group can bring audiences any music from the Jackson 5 to Maroon 5. Friday’s performance featured 60s and 70s hits by Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles, modern Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars tunes and 90s and early 2000s tracks from Radiohead and Amy Winehouse.

McGraw described the song selection process as brainstorming ideas in a group chat and seeing which ones work the best. 

“We try to pick songs that are fun for us, but fun for listeners as well,” McGraw said. “If something gets thrown around in the group chat enough, we will all learn to play it.”

The loaded setlist was split into three parts, each an hour long, making for a long night of performing. The group rehearsed tirelessly all week to make the performance what it was, and indeed they put their all into every number played. 

Starting the night off with some slower tunes, the band eased from “Royals” by Lorde to “Kill Bill” by SZA, establishing themselves and their magnetic presence. Members would rotate on and off stage depending on what each song required, shifting dynamics and sounds to create a wide variety of music. 

Perhaps one of the most distinct features of the band is their violinist. Meade fiddled fiercely as he tapped his foot to the beat of “Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews Band, led vocally by Mitchell. Songs like “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer and Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel” were largely elevated by Meade’s accompaniment.  

Mangione used her powerhouse of a voice to capture each song while making it her own. She approached Grover Washington Jr.’s “Just the Two of Us” with a suave, jazzy tone, placing occasional opt-ins in just the right places. 

The lead singer was sometimes accompanied vocally by Meade and Mitchell. Together, the singers were able to deliver strong three-part harmonies in “Royals” by Lorde, “Stayin’ Alive” by the BeeGees and “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac. 

The latter was one of the strongest numbers of the night, with an impressive instrumental break consisting of McGraw nailing the bass riff and Leonard providing an iconic guitar solo.

The sound would not have been the same, however, without the gradual percussive buildup by Burt on the drums, who glued much of the songs together with his steady rhythms and dynamic range. 

By the time midnight rolled around, friends and listeners were practically piling on top of each other to get to the front. 

“Seeing the crowd and having everyone be really hyped when we're playing is a lot of fun,” Mitchell said. 

A huge crowd favorite was the Jackson 5 classic “I Want You Back,” highlighting Freedman on the keys, who later, during Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” casually whipped out a trumpet and started blowing. 

One devoted audience member was second-year College Student Yukta Ramanan, who could be seen singing and swaying along to the songs at all times.

“I think they bring a really fresh sound,” said Ramanan. “Yeah, they are just really talented.”

The group’s palpable stage presence is perhaps the Krispies’ major selling point, along with the variety of instruments they play.

McGraw and Mitchell were often seen playing face to face, smiling at each other through their music, as Mangione flipped her hair from side to side during upbeat ballads. Meade and Freedman consistently played out to the crowd, as though trying to be one with the audience, alongside the focused Leonard and Burt.

“I just love just the energy of creating something collaboratively with my friends, something that people are enjoying,” said Mitchell. “And I love the live aspect of it … it's always something new, it's always something fresh.” 

As the night came to a close, the band brought a funky take on “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, carried by Leonard’s guitar riffs and Burt’s steady beats, topped with a chilling rendition of “Creep” by Radiohead, with all eyes and ears focused on Mangione.

Even at 1 a.m. in the cold, the crowd did not want to go, desperately chanting for the band to play one more song. In response, the band bid them a musical farewell with an encore of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” — accompanied by the voices of the audience, of course. 

From beginning to end, the seven talented musicians delivered an unwavering performance filled with diverse sound, passion and fun. Be sure to catch Krispies for their next gig March 16 at Kappa Alpha’s St. Patrick’s Day party. 


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