STUCO sent out an email to the student body last Saturday saying there was no better way to spend a Saturday night than to attend the SLUH vs. Francis Howell hockey game. Those who instead spent the night moshing at their fellow Jr. Bills’ rock concert, though, would have to disagree.
Senior Jude Fucetola (stage name J Anthony) and junior Keller Anderson partnered up Saturday night for a highly anticipated concert at the Gaslight Lounge, located on The Hill. The concert took place in the back warehouse of the restaurant/studio, a venue often used for shows.
For Anderson, who has been organizing the concert for months, the night was a huge payoff. The concert sold out, with a 120 people in attendance—20 over the planned capacity.
“We even had to tell 40 people to go back to their cars, because we were sold out,” said Anderson. “It was awesome. I was blown away by the fan support and how many people showed up.”
High school students from all over the St. Louis area flocked to the performance to have a good time with their classmates, jam out to local music, and see their friends perform.
The night of the Valentine’s Day weekend concert kicked off at 7:00 with Fucetola and his band of four other young musicians. The crowd was abuzz when the band launched right away into his biggest hit, “I Don’t Want To Be Your Lover Anymore,” an original.
“We just decided to come out strong and start with that song,” said Fucetola, adding that he was picking up right where he left off because he closed his last concert in January with the same song.
Fucetola’s set list consisted of all original compositions—mostly a blend of rock and jazz. Many of the songs were well-known hits of his, but he also showcased some unreleased music—some of which he plans to release soon. He and his band played each song in a very free-form way, leaving room for solos and extensions wherever needed—a clear indicator of their experience in the art of jazz improvisation.
“We would do jam sessions over the summer, where we play the song and then we just drag it out so that people can do a solo or the trumpet player can do his thing,” said Fucetola. “That’s where we got that from.”
J Anthony, in his element, kept the night alive by interacting with the crowd, talking about each of his songs, and cracking jokes in between tracks. Before one song, titled “Backpack,” he even borrowed a crowd member’s purse as a stage prop.
“He was just having fun with it and finding ways to introduce the songs. It really kept you interested in what was going on,” said senior Mac Southern.
After a short break, Anderson took the stage with his band; composed of SLUH junior Leo Smith on drums, SLUH junior Ryan Carpenter on bass, and CBC junior Sam Castro on lead guitar. While J Anthony and his band had been a huge hit, Anderson immediately proved the night was far from over. The band jumped into an Anderson original called “Be Your Man,” and then blasted a mix of classics and originals, including “Johnny B. Goode,” starring junior Joey Hanks on guitar, and Anderson’s most popular release, “Can’t Help It.”
“Once I heard Johnny B. Goode start to play, (my friends and I) all started jumping immediately,” recalled Southern. “It was awesome.”
Anderson’s band received a warm welcome. Anderson’s partners, Smith and Carpenter, being SLUH students, had many friends in the crowd and were immediate fan favorites.
“I was surprised at how many people appreciated my energy as a drummer. … It was really fun and surprising for me,” said Smith..
After a couple of songs, the band took a break while Anderson performed three solo songs at the keyboard, all original compositions. Then, the singer asked the crowd to form an aisle down the center and invited sophomore Archie Carruthers up to the stage. With the audience unsure what to expect, Carruthers and Anderson took a surprising twist in the concert and launched into hip-hop tracks. They sang Anderson’s brand-new single “Won’t Ever Die,” an unreleased track called “Bad,” Anderson’s one-time-only diss track—all with only a recorded instrumental background. The crowd was ecstatic about the bold choice.
“When Archie came out, I could really see the crowd. That’s when we really got them,” noted Anderson. “Everybody was jumping and dancing.”
Even after that appearance, Anderson still had a few more tricks up his sleeve. With the band back, he called junior Cody Cox to the stage for another guest appearance. Cox began a smooth saxophone solo, nothing out of the ordinary, until he hit eight ascending notes that every ear in the room immediately recognized—it was the intro to “Careless Whisper” by Wham!, and the crowd went wild as the band picked it up.
“We had the whole crowd singing it,” recalled Anderson. “Everybody was vibing to the song, and it was great.”
And yet, even after performing that crowd pleaser, the show was not quite finished. The band concluded the night with another fan favorite, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers. After an even louder round of moshing and singing to the early-2000s hit, the crowd settled down and got out their flashlights for Anderson’s humble end to the concert. Taking his place at the keyboard, he performed his original song “Memories.”
“I feel like (Memories) was a great way to end the show because it's about making memories with your friends on summer nights as a teenager, and then moving on to that next stage of life,” explained Anderson.
Even after the crowd dispersed, band members took selfies, and everyone finished posting their blurry pictures to Instagram, performers and audience members alike had one word in their mind about the night: unforgettable.
“It's just a great place for teenagers to go,” said senior Donovan Meacham. “That concert was a way for us to get together and listen to good young, talented artists. … I’m so glad I went.”
“That was quite possibly the most fun I've ever had,” reflected Smith. “Playing music for people who appreciate it really is satisfying.”
Fucetola, a performer who has taken his talent all over the St. Louis area, was happy to have partnered up with another Jr. Bill.
“It was fun to just have another SLUH guy be represented in the young musician scene in St. Louis,” Fucetola said.
His own plans for the future sound a little mysterious. While he hasn’t hinted at any concerts, one thing’s for sure—something big is coming.
“I'm gonna change up my stuff a lot. Like a whole lot. So that should be exciting. That's all I'm gonna say about that,” said Fucetola.
For Anderson, the concert was an emotional moment.
“It was great to see because I've never done something like that before,” Anderson expressed. “It was really awesome to just be that person on stage getting everybody so energized. At that point of the show, I was like, ‘Yeah, we really did it. This is it’.’”
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