Montage Music Hall, which sits in downtown Rochester, is known for showcasing local artists and hosting several music festivals, including the Rochester International Jazz Festival, the Rochester Fringe Festival, and the Rochester Entertainment Metal Festival and Music Marathon.
As a venue that supports local artists, last Saturday night’s performance at Montage Music Hall was typical for the space, featuring local Rochester bands — the headliner, USP, alongside Good Gorgeous and Honeydü.
The show began shortly after 7 p.m. with Good Gorgeous, a local alt-pop band, opening the night with some original songs. Unfortunately, the night was off to a bit of a rocky start with audio issues at the beginning of the act, but was luckily resolved by the lead singer and keyboardist, Sullivan Slentz, who realized they had to switch the mics.
They were able to quickly turn things around as they began their soft jazz and heavy bass-influenced pop setlist. It set the stage perfectly for Honeydü’s upbeat performance to follow.
Saturday was Honeydü’s first performance in a while, and they delivered nothing short of a splendid show. They commanded the stage, the lead singer jumping around and beckoning the crowd to move closer to the stage. Their bassist took the focus during their set, setting the crowd ablaze. Honeydü played a few original songs, available to stream on their Bandcamp, but mostly stuck to an assortment of covers, getting the energetic crowd to sing along.
Finally, USP, a student-run band composed of mostly UR alumni and current students, took the stage. They headlined the performance that evening, blending jazz, funk, and rock influences to produce some pop-funk jams.
They also gave a preview into their next drop, performing some unreleased songs with lead singer Madeleine Vogel ‘22 who read the lyrics from her phone as she danced across the stage.
USP’s performance included covers of songs like “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and “Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake, all arranged to fit their jazz-funk style, before jumping back into some previously-released original songs.
The highlight of the night, though, was Emile Hamwey ‘23, who took center stage with huge white shades and a saxophone. Hamwey, who strode to the edge of the stage and leaned directly into the crowd during a long saxophone solo, elicited a roar from the front.
The performances at Montage made for a very memorable Saturday night, with Hamwey’s long saxophone solos the true highlight of the evening.
USP plans on performing at the Rochester International Jazz Festival for the first time later this year. Their latest EP, Sidetracked, can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp. Good Gorgeous can be found on Spotify and Soundcloud. Honeydü, as mentioned before, can be found on Bandcamp.
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