Den Show with the Repercussions Garners Emotions Through Innovation

Jacob Kaiser ’24 plays guitar on stage in the Susie’s.

Saxophonist Brandon Fu ’25 plays a solo in the middle of the concert.

The Repercussions performed two unique set lists for its two performances in Susie’s.

Students from the band “Repercussions” sported matching flannel shirts and stood facing the crowd on the stage of Susie’s on May 12. Guitarist Sinan Muratoglu ’24 plucked a gentle melody that matched the soft beat from drummer Nickey Zhang ’23. The audience gasped, whooped with joy, and waved their cell phone flashlights to the rhythm as Sebastian Altomare ’23 sang the first three syllables of “Gravity” by John Mayor.

The Repercussions’ show took place last Friday and Saturday. Isabelle Quito ’25, who attended both shows, described one of her favorite moments and the emotions she felt.

“When Sebastian Altomare was singing ‘Gravity’ by John Mayor, that was amazing… It was relatable. There’s a feeling of something holding you down but [you’re] trying to fight against it. I almost cried… I liked the sense of community and familiarity the performers had with the audience. It wasn’t just all about them, but it was also about the way it made the audience feel,” said Quito.

Featuring a wide variety of music, ranging from jazz to pop tunes, the Repercussions’ set lists were completely different for their two nights in the den. According to saxophonist Brandon Fu ’25, the band came up with most of their songs during the Academy Bands’ Portugal tour over Spring Break.

“While I loved the crowd-pleaser tunes that got the crowd hyped, my favorite song that we performed has got to be ‘Lingus,’ a crazy tune by a band called ‘Snarky Puppy.’ This was the hardest one to pull off by far for everyone in the band, and everything was executed amazingly during the show. Nickey and Seb kept time perfectly. A lot of the song is in an odd time meter of 10/4, ten beats a measure. And Jacob [Kaiser ’24] had a mind-melting euphoric keys solo. That was one of the tunes that represented our band’s connection perfectly,” said Fu.

Apart from solo improvisations, the Repercussions strove to be innovative in many other ways. For example, they switched up the instruments they were playing and “shrunk the band.” Instead of using a saxophone, Fu played on a recorder, while Kaiser chose to replace his keyboard with a melodica.

“We definitely drew a lot of inspiration from other performances and artists. I think we all saw a similar clip of the guitarist Cory Wong and his band, where the guitarist was on a ukulele, the drummer was on a mini drum set and the horn player was on a smaller plastic toy version of a horn. We thought this was a fun way to change things up a bit and it was just an idea we wanted to try,” said Kaiser.

A major element of the Den Show was how the Repercussions collaborated with other musicians on campus. They invited singer Marie Faugeres ’23, electric guitarist Andrew Zhou ’23, violinist Derrick Seo ’23, and countless others to play with them. One of the guest singers in the Friday night show was Jane Park ’22, an alumni who returned to campus.

“My performance was pretty late in the show, [so] I watched Seb and his fellow band members dig into the atmosphere, creating a really lax but joyful vibe. I was mostly excited to be a part of that. After I stopped focusing on sounding perfect, it was easier to lean into [the song] and just have fun on stage… I [had] forgotten how great it feels to perform in front of an audience you know so well and care about so dearly,” said Park.

The planning for the show was not only done by the six musicians from the Repercussions, but also faculty members, videographers, and graphic designers. Altomare believed that their performance brought the community together such that everyone paid effort into what they achieved.

“I can’t think of a better way to spend six hours of week in my Senior Spring than playing with the best musicians I ever have and honestly ever will play with. With four rehearsals a week, all planned out with what songs we have to learn in advance and which guests will be joining us, the Den Show always kept me on my feet, and had a massive net positive on my mood in Spring Term as well as my mood in life in general. I really do view it as one of the most important things I’ve ever done,” wrote Altomare in an email to The Phillipian.