Feeling The Teen Spirit

I remember going to shows when I was sixteen years old. There weren’t too many options for youngsters at the time, but they were around and I was bound to find them. You were the coolest if you knew someone in a band, bonus if they were actually good. Doink was my favorite at that time, they were a few guys from my high school who, in our opinion, were the bomb. And by “our” I mean me and my devoted friends. We would go to their shows, stand up front, sing along, and smile because we knew these guys were something. The world looks so different from the eyes of a teenager. Now don’t get me wrong, Doink was and still would be amazing had they stayed together after the transition from high school to wherever, but things change.

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As I looked around the Vera Project I noticed myself laughing out loud, I felt like I had been thrust backward in time. The young people in the sparse crowd were so enthusiastic about a three-piece band called if BEARS were BEES. They knew all the lyrics to the songs and the band knew how to engage them. It was quite obvious they knew their fans and it was also quite obvious they were fairly new to this world. I found myself becoming more entertained by the audience than the performers, but this happens at special venues sometimes and the Vera Project is certainly special.

But it wasn’t if BEARS were BEES that I came to see, it was Dana BuoyAkron Family drummer aka Dana Janssen. He was another recommendation from a friend, and I was not disappointed. As Dana was setting up stage, one teen innocently asked questions about his equipment and Dana politely responded with a glimmer of enthusiasm. It could have been me, but it seemed as though Dana was just as amused and impressed as I was with the bold interest these kids had. It makes me really wonder what Kurt Cobain was thinking when he smelled teen spirit.

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Once Dana started playing I was immediately enthralled. He began solo with just himself and his synthesizers, singing dream-like notes with synth tones. He was comfortable, charismatic, and creative. After the first song he was joined by a drummer then eventually two more, building like any good song or performance should. Dana swapped instruments like a seasoned professional, entertaining the crowd from beginning to end.

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He played several tracks off his debut solo album Summer Bodies, which is a reflection from life experiences turned melodic in a bungalow near Thailand. The album is fun and original with hints of “electropical” sounds. Dana apparently found inspiration in faraway places, which is common for many artists. His originality though definitely speaks of Brooklyn, a city known for creative indie inspired music similar to Seattle, which is where the album was executed. No doubt we will be seeing and hearing more from him in the near future, he is obviously a talented career musician.

-Nicole Starr