Friday, September 15, 2023–
LMU’s Recording Arts (RECA) Fest is a student-run, live music showcase featuring Los Angeles artists. RECA Fest takes place 4 times a semester, put on and run by LMU’s junior and senior classes of RECA majors. Each student is assigned a different role before the show, ranging from managerial roles to technical roles like live mixing.
Max Alvarez, senior RECA major and Production Director at KXLU, was the show’s production manager. Max explains, “[Students learn] how to utilize both a front-of-house mixing board which controls what the audience hears through microphones and outputs, and monitors which control the sound heard by the performers.” RECA Fest not only enriches the LMU performing arts community, but the greater Los Angeles music scene as well, by providing opportunities for young aspiring musicians and audio technicians to gain practical experience in organizing and executing live shows.
The first act to take Drollinger stage was 5UMO (pronounced ‘SUMO’), a trio that plays slow, melodic, 90s-influenced alternative rock. Sam Takano, guitarist/vocalist in 5UMO and Music Director at KXLU, best describes the group’s sound as “slowcore”.
I was surprised to learn that this was 5UMO’s first gig as a band, chiefly because of how comfortable the group appeared on stage. Sam explains, “5UMO formed specifically for this show…. We formed only 3 days before the show. We wrote all the songs on the setlist that week.” Sam cites Bluetile Lounge, Acetone, and Slint as key influences in crafting 5UMO’s sound.
Although 5UMO only formed 3 days before their set at RECA Fest, Sam, vocalist Albert Peacock, and drummer/bassist Ryan Anderson have been playing music together in various ensembles for years. The band says it didn’t feel like a typical first show because “we’ve grown together as live performers, and are super comfortable with one another”.
Right as the first strokes of sunset began to paint the sky, Junkstar geared up to play their first song. I was immediately charmed by the vocalist, Gigi Corrales, with her lavagirl pink hair and bold stars scattered across her face.
The band features Sam Takano on guitar, Sage Roth-Berg on bass, and Mada Harper on drums. Junkstar’s sound builds on the opening act’s slowcore foundation, blending in distinctive elements of shoegaze, indie rock, and echoes of emo.
According to Sage, Junkstar was born when “Sam came up to me at the end of last semester, on a Wednesday, and said ‘Hey, you wanna play a show Friday?’ and I was like ‘um, sure’… [So] we asked Mada if they would drum. We practiced that Friday for two hours then played a house show later that night”. Junkstar was originally intended to be a one-show band, but the group meshed so well that they decided to keep it going. Sage adds, “whenever [Junkstar] plays, I feel like I’m hanging with my friends. Gigi, Mada, and Sam are some of my best friends, so it’s fun to play cool music with your good friends”.
Follow Junkstar on Instagram.