As lunchtime approached on the brisk fall afternoon of Sept. 29, the Lied Center for Performing Art’s Facebook page came to life with a livestream from their Huskers in the Spotlight concert series. Past Casual, a band formed of five University of Nebraska-Lincoln students, headlined the second show of the series.
After being introduced by senior interdisciplinary studies and finance major Ryan Savage, the stream’s host, the band began its set with the song “Pilot.” This funky tune makes the audience feel like they’re living in a different time — the soft, yet powerful voice of senior music education major Madeline Reddel and the retro sound of the electric guitar and soft drums made it feel like the song is from the 1960s.
Savage then went on to ask the band about its formation. Drummer Jonah Payne, a senior music and psychology major, came up to the microphone and talked about how he wanted to create a fundraiser to help his friend who had cancer and decided to form a band himself instead of finding another band to perform. This conversation gave the audience a sense that the group’s passion for music and long friendship go hand in hand, and that they really enjoy playing together.
The band then went on to perform the song “Treetops,” in which Payne played the steel pans. The steel pans set a scene of leaves floating through the air, giving the viewers a better sense of the message the song was trying to send.
Reddel said she gets a lot of inspiration from watching nature, and she likes to turn the lyrics into metaphors for how to get through life struggles and inspire others to save the planet. Savage went on to ask about subjects such as the steel pans, how the group was doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and what the band hopes to accomplish in the future.
The final song, “Half-Forgotten Memory,” left viewers with a funky beat that anyone could groove to. With the dominating bass and keyboard and fast-paced drum rhythm, this song is a perfect calming tune to drive along to.
The livestream audio cut out from time to time, so it was hard to understand some of the words being said. Regardless, the band performed really well and Savage was an excellent host with witty humor and in-depth questions about the band and its process.
The music was exceptional. Most of the songs had a funky smooth jazz sound that made it seem like they could be heard at local coffee shops on open mic night. Past Casual’s songs had meaningful messages and were able to blend genres such as jazz and pop, creating a unique mix of sounds that most people might not have heard before. Seeing the talent of current UNL students on an extensive stage like the Lied Center’s is thrilling.
For people who missed out on the live performance, the stream can still be viewed on the Lied Center’s Facebook page.