Brick + Mortar build exciting return to weekly Spot Nights


courtesy The Tank Room's facebook

Despite some awkward moments, Brick + Mortar headlined an energetic show at the first Spot Night of the semester.

With the beginning of the spring semester came the beginning of weekly University Program Board’s Spot Night. On Friday, Jan. 15, indie rock band Brick + Mortar headlined the late night concert, preceded by opener TriHearn.

The entire show rolled off at 10 p.m. and TriHearn played their set, which consisted of a blend of folk. Led by Case Western Reserve University alum, the trio has just wrapped up a mini Northeast Ohio tour.

Unfortunately I was not able to arrive in time for TriHearn’s performance, and entered the Spot just as the three musicians were exiting the stage.

During the quick intermission, students crowded at the bar, ordering free baskets of wings and $2 draft beers. The Spot filled with a decently sized crowd near the stage, with some smaller groups scattered around tables in the back of the room.

Soon, the two members of Brick + Mortar started their set at 11 p.m.

It took a while for the musicians and the audience to warm up; when singer Brandon Asraf declared his pro-marijuana legalization views, he was met with weak applause. For the first half of the set, the front row of the audience stood three feet away from the stage, seemingly hesitant of the energy in front of them.

Then, everyone got a little more comfortable. Asraf snagged a hat off of a dancing guy in the front row for one song, then returned it during the final notes. He had a singalong with the audience for “Train,” where students shouted back the lines “for you” over and over. When the duo played their most famous hit, “Locked in a Cage,” the audience bobbed around, finally loosened up enough to dance.

Although Asraf moved around the stage more, drummer John Tacon showed off his chops with a few excited, fast-paced drum solos and intense rhythms for all of the songs. The two musicians weren’t super communicative with each other, but were connected through the band’s punky rhythms.

Towards the end of their show, the overhead lights began flashing for no apparent reason. Asraf asked a few times why the lights were flashing, and if they indicated that the band should be wrapping up. No answer.

They kept playing, and the lights kept flashing. Soon, they went back out and the band carried on.

Despite the awkward moment, Brick + Mortar kept the show moving and ended on a strong note: A highlight of the show happened when, towards the end, Asraf entered the crowd with his microphone and worked his way around the students before returning to the stage. This created the most audience engagement all night, as students waved their arms and worked towards him during the song.

Weekly Spot Nights are a beloved tradition in the arts and entertainment scene at CWRU. UPB’s return to a weekly event will continue to engage music-loving students with up-and-coming bands, especially at an intimate venue like The Spot.

This Friday, Jan. 22, UPB’s Spot Night will feature basement-punk rock band Screaming Females with opening punk rock band Surf Deer. The event will return to its earlier 9 p.m. start time, as opposed to last week’s lateness.