I always thought that The Nines was just a place to get pizza and corn nuggets. At least, that’s what my friends do when they go there. Little did I know, this assumption was way off. On April 15, Cornell student radio station WVBR hosted bands PYSMON SPINE, Pilgrims and rapper Paulitics at The Nines. Going into it, I didn’t know what to expect. Would the venue be crowded with die-hard fans? Were they even any good? Would there be complimentary corn nuggets? With regards to the latter point: There weren’t any, unfortunately. But the show surpassed my expectations by all other measures.
The Nines is a smaller venue and, when I arrived, it was only about half filled. The front half of the restaurant was still reserved for dinner service, while the back housed the stage. Owing to the lack of space, the members of each performance group milled with the audience, talking and joking. Around 10:40 the lights dimmed and the concert began.
The show opened with rap artist and Dallas native Paulitics, the stage name of Paul Russell ’19. Paul is signed with Electric Buffalo Records, a student-run record label founded in Ithaca in 2015. He’s a great performer with a commanding presence. From the moment he took the stage he performed with ease, first joking and talking with the audience and then smoothly transitioning into his versatile set, whose highlights included opening track “Out of the Town” and a segment where he broke out a ukelele. Paulitics’s style of rap itself is similar to spoken-word poetry, which jibes well with his smooth beats. His last song “Pajama Thursday” was hands down my favorite of the entire night. Although it started with a slow jazz backbeat, the pace quickened and was matched by Paulitics’ fast-paced rapping. One line in particular stuck out: “I’m in pajamas on a Thursday, is it my birthday?” This alone, I feel, adequately describes Paulitics’s talent as a lyricist. His songs are playfully put together, with lyrics that are poignant and funny at times. Throughout his set I found myself truly enjoying both his words and the easy atmosphere he brought to the stage.
On stage next was Pilgrims, a rock band out of Elmira, NY. Although they are typically a four-piece group, they were down to three musicians for the night, with Rushawn Stanley on guitar and vocals, Ian Kull on bass and Mikey Page on drums. They’ve been described as “noise makers,” and boy, did they ever make some noise. From the moment they stepped on stage the volume was overwhelming. The screechy vocals by lead vocalist Stanley were offset by the psychedelic feel of the guitar and the constant, heavy sounds of the bass. Their set featured songs with a vast variety of vibes; some were soulful, and reminiscent of the ’80s group the Police, while others felt more like grunge. Although the lyrics and instrumentals were at heavy at times, the crowd was actively engaged, bopping their heads and dancing in place.
PYSMON SPINE, a group I was really looking forward to hearing after exploring their Soundcloud, closed the concert. PYSMON SPINE is a electro pop group from Saratoga Springs, New York. Founded by Peter Spears and Noah Prebish, they have expanded into a five-piece, including members Devon Kilburn, Chris Beckett and Mike Rudinski. They brought a psychedelic vibe to the Nines, in stark contrast to the two other groups. Their songs were versatile: Some were upbeat and edgy, with a heavy guitar sound, while others were more relaxed and calming. I can say that I truly enjoyed the concert. WVBR did amazing job picking artists that were diverse in style and talented performers.
Kyla Brathwaite is a sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.