Pretty Jane and the Magazine, an East Lansing-local band, has been pushing to bring back the culture of live performance this past year.
The band is mostly made up of students from Michigan State University, including chemical engineering junior Ryan Stearns, computer science senior Ethan Strain, biochemistry senior Trevor Dalrymple and Luca DiVergilio.
During the week of Aug. 29, the band began actively performing in East Lansing once again, using every opportunity they got.
However, the road to bringing back the culture of live performance hasn't been easy or obstacle-free.
For example, in the spring, Dalrymple left for a study abroad program in the Netherlands. He reunited with his bandmates at the beginning of this past summer.
"Coming back was really nice because it was the first time we had all been in the same room in five, six months," he said. "We just really noticed how different the creative writing process goes when you're actually able to bounce ideas off each other in real-time.”
While studying abroad, Dalrymple reflected on his passion for music — he missed it and truly felt disconnected from his bandmates.
“The Netherlands made me realize how much I'm into music, and kind of made me question what I was doing, because I'm a biochem major," Dalrymple said. "And I was doing cool anti-cancer drug research, right? Like, I'm not going to be doing cooler research, probably ever. And I'm still just thinking about music."
When Dalrymple returned to East Lansing, another bandmate set out for Nashville, Tennessee.
DiVergilio currently lives in Nashville part-time. He's still able to play the bass as usual in the band's performances, but rehearsals are a different story.
The band's rehearsals included a new part-time bass player whenever DiVergilio was unable to make it.
"We reached out to everyone we knew and tried to put out some advertisements," Dalrymple said. "We ended up finding probably 567 guys that were interested in auditioning for bass. A handful of them auditioned. We met a couple of cool guys and people that got some chops on bass, like, 'They're pretty good.'”
Pretty Jane and the Magazine would have played its first performance on Aug. 29 at an East Lansing downtown event, the Moonlight Extravaganza, but the event got canceled due to a storm.
"(The city) told us last year, 10,000 kids were walking around East Lansing because it's the first day of Welcome Week. It's like a really great slot for us to be out on bar night, and they hyped it up so much," Dalrymple said.
After many phone calls the band was able to perform at an alternative location that night — booking a gig at the Bowie Spartan Housing Co-Op.
“They host live music in their houses ... they've got pretty big houses," Dalrymple said. “It ended up being really successful and really fun and a good substitute for the other show that we would have played. It was a blast.”
Strain said the event came together in two hours.
The next day, during Sparticipation, Dalrymple, DiVergilio and Strain approached members of the Impact FM booth where there were some ongoing live performances. With the help of some connections, the bandmates convinced an Impact FM employee to let them perform.
“He worked some things around, I think he must have moved some people and some of the acts ... and we're standing sort of huddled over there next to him, and he just looks over at us and gives us a thumbs up. And we go into action mode,” Dalrymple said. "We did the world's fastest setup.”
Further, the band has plans to release a single, titled "Someone to Lose."
“It's getting pretty close to being released ... And we've been playing it at shows as well, too. I feel like we've been getting good reception on it," Strain said. "We'd like to make it more like a crowd participation thing … then you really feel like you have a better sense of community and like you're off doing something.”
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Those plans were, at least, partly sprung from their eventful last week of August.
“That was good for us because we haven't really established ourselves with the co-ops around here, which are a really big scene for live music,” Dalrymple said. “It's one of the things we're really excited for this year, because we feel like we're pretty set up and know enough people around to, sort of, become a more recognizable band in East Lansing."
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