Author: Pierce Graham-Jones
Among the Middlebury alumni on campus this weekend were Mark Williams and Allison Frazier, graduates of Middlebury in 2000 and members of a band called Godfrey. Based out of Essex Junction, Vt., Godfrey tours year round (although much more frequently over the summer.)
Friday night brought them to The Grille for a performance that speaks well both of the musical talent that comes out of Middlebury and the appreciation and support from current students and faculty of these alumni.
The band, beside Williams (guitar and vocals) and Frazier (saxophone), consists of Travis Voyer (guitar and vocals), Jason Wimette (bass) and Chris MacKinnon (drums and some vocals). Self described on their website as "a rock band," they did contain a lot of the elements of a typical young band still forming an identity for themselves.
Having just graduated from college in 2000, they covered about half of the songs they played, which ranged from Blink 182's "All the Small Things" to Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard."
They are all, however, very talented musicians, and every song was fun to listen to them play.
Voyer, with short black curly hair, pleated dress plants and Union Jack shoes, equally shared the vocal responsibilities with Williams, sporting neat long blond hair, glasses, a yellow polo and jeans.
They would constantly glance at each other throughout the show, seemingly deciding who would take the lead on the next song. Both Godfrey and the audience benefited from two vocalists with very different voices: allowing for a range of songs and providing contrastive vocal support for each other.
Every member of the band, however, was equally responsive and present to the audience as the two main vocalists.
MacKinnon stood out, intensely pounding a full set of drums, sometimes with only his taped-up hands. Wimette and Frazier, stepping up for frequent solos, would completely steal the audience, and just as suddenly fade back into the complete sound of the band.
Godfrey's own songs best exhibited the integrated talent of every musician, such as the particularly outstanding "Naked."
The audience consisted of a range of supportive members of the Middlebury community: from personal friends of the recently graduated students, to a large group of faculty members, to first-years who had no knowledge of the band other than members of it had graduated from Middlebury.
The audience seemed to exist entirely of people who had come to hear Godfrey and not of students who thought that McCullough dances really started at 9 p.m. and decided instead to stumble into The Grille.
About half way into the show, a baker's dozen of students who were obviously friends with the band showed up all decked out with bright, colorful clothes: including girls with fairy wings and bug antennas and one guy in a short tight skirt.
They immediately began dancing, as well as encouraging the rest of the audience to dance, directly below the stage. There was a noticeable increase in energy with their arrival, and Godfrey happily acknowledged them in their song as "the forest elves."
Godfrey did not face the best circumstances for a performance: 9 pm is a little early to be in The Grille on a Friday night for some students. Regardless, they filled up the concert area with people intent on their music.
To listen to Godfrey and find out more, check out their website at www.godfreymusic.com
Godfrey Graces Grille Once More
Author: Pierce Graham-Jones