This piece was originally published in Mast Magazine via mastmedia.plu.edu
Photos by McKenna Morin.
Lutes cut loose at LollaPLUza 2016, just two weekends before the end of the semester. Students and community members sprawled across the golf course on the uncharacteristically-warm day in early May; dancing, singing or listening to the live bands the LollaPLUza team had booked for the event.
At 1 p.m., the gates opened and student band Head Portal started the day off strong with a set of classic covers to get the crowd going. Caleb & Denae followed them up on the B stage while seattle locals Prom Queen set up. Runaway Satellite, an acoustic rock duo, played between Prom Queen and Otieno Terry.
Terry’s music is a charming mix of many different genres.
“My biggest influences were video game soundtracks, and a lot of orchestral stuff,” Terry told the Mast after his set. “Eyrkah Badu, Little Dragon, Kanye West, Outkast, Crying Baby Ray. R&B, electronic music, and hip-hop.”
“Last year, we did Madaraka festival at the EMP, we did Sasquatch, we did Capitol Hill Block Party, Bumbershoot, and the Homeskillet festival in Alaska and the John Coltrane Festival in North Carolina,“ he said. With a history of performing for large crowds, it’s no wonder Terry was a natural on stage at LollaPLUza. He credits some of his success to winning Sound Off! 2014 at the EMP, an all-ages music competition that helps artists showcase their music and launch their careers.
“Sound Off kinda set things off a little bit,” Terry said. “Sound Off got me that Bumbershoot performance and Block Party, kinda opened the door to my name, people just started booking me. Also, it was cool to hook up with other people from the sound off, and the people from the EMP are really nice. Super down to earth.”
The following hours saw sets from Navvi, Dave B., and the PLU Dance Team.
This year’s headliner, Pickwick, blended sweet dancing melodies with driving guitars and came into a sound all their own on stage.
“I’d call our music rock and roll, but it’s fun to go disco at times, be chill at times, it’s been fun to try different things,” said Pickwick vocalist Galen Disston.
Pickwick’s been hard at work recording their new album with producer Erik Blood. Blood also produced albums for Seattle artists Shabazz Palaces and Tacocat.
“Here’s what I’ll say about it: It’s the best experience I’ve ever had making a record, we made [Can’t Talk Medicine], but it was kind of like a compilation, some songs we’d done two times already by the time we got here,” Disston said. “It felt fresh, some of [the songs] we had written right before we went into the studio. I don’t know how to describe it, but the record made this place that I want to be in […] not the studio, just this place, metaphorically, that we were at when making it, and that i go to when i listen to it.”
Throughout the day, a number of non-musical activities were available for participating Lutes as well; the rock wall, the obstacle course and food trucks were all hits.