Andrew Bird, The Speedbumps deliver mellow performances

Adam Griffiths

Andrew Bird sings “Tables and Chairs” at the Student Center Ballroom Saturday night. The concert, sponsored by ACPB, drew about 600 people. Leslie L. Cusano | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys


After the thunder of football fans died down, but before the crowds took to the streets, the attitude on campus took an intimate turn Saturday night on the Student Center Ballroom stage.

Indie-folk artist Andrew Bird and Kent’s own The Speedbumps delivered a mellow performance to a crowd of more than 600 people.

Actually, mellow is an understatement.

The Speedbumps opened the 8 p.m. show. Frontman Eric Urycki, junior public relations major and Daily Kent Stater reporter, joined drummer Patrick Hawkins, senior public relations major, Sam Kristoff and Stephanie Huffman on cello and Evan Lewis on the upright bass and bass guitar.

“We’re from Kent, so we’re not going anywhere,” Urycki told the audience.

The audience’s applause to Hawkins’ cello solo halfway through The Speedbumps’ set was a testament to the setting in the Ballroom. In fact, many of the audience members themselves were telling as to the mood of the evening.

Eight-year-old Gwen Goebelt of Stow came clad in a purple Andrew Bird T-shirt, a red and black plaid skirt and pastel rainbow leggings — an outfit that, according to her parents Shannon and Zach, Gwen picked herself.

The Speedbumps’ unique, layered harmonies accented Bird’s intrinsic performance. Audience members gathered around the stage as Bird and his band set up for their set, and it instantly seemed that the Ballroom had been transformed into a legitimate venue.

Bird opened his set with a s‚ance of sorts, complete with his trademark spinning double-horned phonograph, as he transitioned into his “Fiery Crash.” A cell phone that rang minutes into the song seemed to be a part of the action, as Bird and his band used everything from a triangle to pans to a See ‘n Say during their performance.

Rachel Bauer, junior fashion merchandising major, said she was glad the show wasn’t held in the large M.A.C. Center.

“I knew the crowd would be smaller for something like this,” Bauer said. “It’s a better atmosphere.”

Doug Hite, All Campus Programming Board concerts chair, said events such as the Bird concert are what the campus is asking for.

“We’re talking to students,” Hite said. “By providing different happenings like this tour, we’re bringing different people on campus together.”

Contact off-campus entertainment reporter Adam Griffiths at [email protected].