Confetti, toilet paper and ‘good vibes’ abundant at The Varsity Saturday night
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Confetti, toilet paper and ‘good vibes’ abundant at The Varsity Saturday night

“Everybody vibe out right now!” This demand from Tenenbaums guitarist Brandon Phrommany was the theme of the evening at The Varsity Pub in downtown Vermillion Saturday night.

The night featured bands from Sioux Falls, including Lemmons, Meriwether Raindelay, Androgynous Squash and Tenenbaums.

Lemmons, which was originally a solo act by Jacob Lemme, kicked off the night.

“I started about three years ago,” Lemme said. “I saved up enough money to get myself my own laptop and a little USB mic, and I started recording stuff in my room. It was some pretty lo-fi mixes. Then I started playing at Total Drag Records in 2015, then I met Will and he and I just started writing songs together. Kaleb soon caught on and we met Jef recently this year. We’ve been writing songs and playing shows together like a big, happy family.”

Lemme said he draws inspiration from performance art.

“The only reason I do a lot of crazy antics is because I’m inspired by a lot of crazy people, like Iggy Pop in The Stooges era when he would throw peanut butter at everybody,” Lemme said. “I was a drama student in high school, so I’ve learned from plays and I incorporate that to how far I can get away with going at it in my shows. I think of it as well-orchestrated chaos.”

At one point, Lemme stripped down to his underwear while still managing to play guitar. He later instructed the audience to form a wall of death, and had a toilet
paper mosh.
Varsity Bands

Lemme’s bandmates are on board with that same kind of chaos. At the end of their set, they emptied a guitar case that had been filled with balloons, and they joined the crowd in stomping on them.

“A lot of our show is not completely improvised,” drummer Will Beringer said. “A lot of the things that happen are just completely unplanned. Lemme will strip half naked, exit the venue and come back later. We don’t plan that, it just kind of happens when it happens.”

After the clean up of popped balloons and toilet paper was complete, the band Meriwether Raindelay took the stage. Meriwether Raindelay’s set was lit only by a single candle.

A surprise ukulele performance from Brendan Gayken, a USD sophomore and media & journalism major, followed before Androgynous Squash, the next band.

USD first-year English major Lindy Wise, the band’s vocalist, has been busy with a lot of musical acts in the past year — he’s been part of Squash, Angie Hosh and Onsk Onsk.

Wise said his music has grown in the underground punk scene of
South Dakota.

“One of the most fun shows we’ve played was in Renner,” Wise said. “These punks had a house there and a pretty huge garage, so they let us throw a show and we were on the bill. It was crazy. Even the most punk venues have a set of rules you have to follow, but it was a party atmosphere, I’ll say that. People just kind of did what they wanted to and gave up to
the experience.”

Tenenbaums finished off the night at The Varsity. Tenenbaums is comprised of USD alumnus Drew Helland (drums), USD senior Brandon Phrommany (vocals and guitar) and Mike Helland (bass).

Tenenbaums also performed two covers that night. They played “Jenny Loves Jenae” by their shared favorite band BRONCHO, who they said were “thrilled” to open for at Total Drag in August.

An encore prompted the band to play a cover of “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” by STRFKR. For their final song, the band members invited the audience to dance onstage with them in order to properly end a night of
rocking out.

The Tenenbaums will be opening for Chicago post-punk rockers Ne-Hi at Total Drag Records on April 16.