The stage was like a comic book come to life: explosive word balloons with words like “Pow!” and “Bam!” dotted the columns which supported the lights and speakers. Four tall banners surrounded the stage, each depicting a musician drawn superhero-style. The fenced-in area designated for the audience was filled, but not so crowded that you couldn’t move about freely. Students with bulky cameras, clipboards, and headsets flitted around the edges of the room. Everyone eagerly awaited the band to take the stage.
Local Long Island pop punk/indie/rock band Giants at Large played a free concert Monday, March 31 at Hofstra University. The band was the star of the annual show, Live From Studio A, a program which showcases local bands and is run entirely by TV and radio students. It is broadcast over WRHU, the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication’s radio station, as well as on HTVinteractive.com, which hosts several programs created by Hofstra TV and film students.
The show began with a loud, twanging chord and a crash of the cymbals, and it only picked up in energy and volume from there. During the band’s new song “Summer,” a mosh pit broke out: a large group of guys jumped around and crashed into one another. At one point, the audience huddled together so one excited fan could briefly crowd surf. The fans’ chaotic energy seemed to match that of the band. Bassist Brian Thomann was especially enthusiastic, spinning around and dancing as he strummed.
In between songs, pre-recorded interviews with the band were broadcast on two TVs set up on either side of the stage. The members shared funny stories about being on the road and the origin of their band.
Sophomore Brian Stieglitz is very familiar with Giants at Large and with the local Long Island music scene, in general. “I always go to shows on Long Island with my brother and the opening bands are usually local,” he said. “When you go to the same venues, you start to see the same bands and same people at each show. It’s kind of like a community and I love that.”
Freshman Nicole Vuono, on the other hand, had never heard of the band prior to the concert. A teaching assistant in one of her radio, television, and film classes invited the students and Vuono though, “Why not?” Since then, Vuono said, “I’ve been listening to their music on YouTube on repeat constantly.”
Some fans were noticeably more enthusiastic than others. They also seemed to have a rapport with the band, shouting funny words of encouragement. It turns out, these audience members were either very involved in the Long Island music scene or were part of local bands themselves.
One such attendee was Andrew Bilder, who is part of the band Bellwether. He said, “My first band was actually with Matt. I grew up with him, writing music together. We still play shows together.” Bilder said that what makes his childhood friend’s band unique is that “Giants at Large, on Long Island especially, fills a niche where they connect with the older guys–you know, like me and my friends, [who] have all been going to shows for a very long time–and they’re able to connect with younger guys who are in their early teens.”
Matt Lagattuta, lead vocalist and guitarist, was equally as excited about the show as the fans were. “We’re not used to playing [on] stages and [having] barricades and lights. It’s usually [in] a dingy basement, so this was cool for us.”