MUSIC MOVERS AND MAKERS — Gallant (top) slows the beat while singing “Miyazaki.” Eryn Allen Kane (bottom) let the music move through her while on stage. (Photos by Kelly Ocock)
The Knickerbocker opened its doors on Sept. 10 to a line of eager Hope College students and Holland community members. Premiering was the 2016 Concert Series season, with headliner Gallant and special guest Eryn Allen Kane.
With students crowding around the stage, Kane took her position and belted her way through her set. The powerhouse from Detroit was excited to be on the west side of Michigan to perform on her first ever tour. She sang tracks from her albums, “Aviary: Act I” and “Aviary: Act II,” as well as singing a tribute to her late mentor, Prince.
Her energy flowed as she soulfully sang, interspersing some scat here and there, all while moving with her music across the stage until she exited stage left.
After a half hour break, the lights dimmed once again, and this time Gallant sauntered out and clutched the mic as he hit the first note.
“He has such a range,” Gretta Nyboer (’19) said. “It’s crazy how high he can go.”
Gallant made use of his falsetto, expertly trilling through “Talking to Myself,” “Bourbon,” “Bone + Tissue,” “Weight in Gold” and “Episode.”
Most of his performance came from songs off his second album “Ology.”
This was Gallant’s first time performing at Hope, stating that he previously performed at Calvin, but it was great to be at the school that alumni Sufjan Stevens came from. He cited Stevens as a mentor, and has worked with him in the past on the single “Blue Bucket Of Gold,” to which Stevens lends his vocals and piano playing.
Before closing out the night, Gallant came back on stage for an encore, during which he pulled Nyboer and Lydia Berkey (’19) onstage.
At the end of the night, two students working with the concert series came out to have a Q & A session with Gallant.
He openly spoke about the depression he faced in his time at NYU, his approach to music through anthropology and sociology, his work with Stevens and the development of his voice.
“I spent a lot of time alone, and so, you know when you’re in the bathroom mirror and you’re looking at yourself you can do whatever you want, so I kind of had the opportunity to sit and try to hit notes that sound like cats in really bad predicaments,” Gallant said.
Not only did he experiment with his voice, but his list of inspirations are not clear cut.
“I didn’t really have a loyalty to an artist or genre, but I think through that process of just listening to everything it kind of made me feel more free,” Gallant said.
This lead Gallant to label himself a confused artist because his music doesn’t fall into one category, which resonated with his cheering fans.