Hootstock 2016 takes over Theatre Lab

Hoot/Wisdom Recordings artists played at Parliament Hall Feb. 19

Stoic+City+drummer+Miguel+Cruz+practicing+for+Hootstock+2016.+Photo+courtesy+of+Stoic+City%27s%0AFacebook+page.

Stoic City drummer Miguel Cruz practicing for Hootstock 2016. Photo courtesy of Stoic City's Facebook page.

Joe Pye, Staff Writer

Crossing the bridge between Living Room Theaters and the Theatre Lab in Parliament Hall, I hear the sound of electronic dance music increasing. This is far from the norm to be heard on this side of the Boca Raton campus, but tonight is Hootstock 2016 and Hoot/Wisdom Recordings has taken over.

The music is coming from DJ Aroy out on the patio of Parliament Hall. Inside, there is a table set up with two girls handing out Owl Radio merchandise and Jarred Nerf, a junior commercial music major, setting up his equipment for his dubstep project, Equus.

He is one of four artists signed to Hoot/Wisdom recordings who will be performing tonight.

“I use that name because I try to incorporate an animalistic quality in my music,” Nerf says. “Equus is Latin for horse-like animals.”

Nerf has been a jazz guitarist for 11 years and made the transition from playing in rock bands to performing as Equus four years ago.

“My stream of consciousness really inspires my music,” he says. “I listen to artists like Skrillex and Getter and MUST DIE! and try to make something similar to them.”

Nerf says electronic music grants him freedom. “It’s like a blank slate that I can create anything I can think of … anything that is non-traditional.”

After setting up his equipment in the back corner of the room, Nerf plays EDM in between other bands’ sets.

At 7 p.m., the first act, Xander James — a solo acoustic artist — plays originals and covers artists like Ed Sheeran. While he plays, the crowd slow claps.

When he is done, Yardij takes the stage as a five-piece group fronted by singer and rhythm guitarist Deja Elyze and backed by lead guitarist Nick Fernandez, bassist Alex Athanasaw, keyboardist Andrew Salow and drummer Jordan Solomon.

They play five songs from their EP “The Blue Room,” which has influences of classic rock, funk and reggae. They also cover The Allman Brothers, Sublime and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The band says it got its name from its manager, Cheryl Steele and her husband Gordon Steeles’ junkyard in Hollywood, Florida.

“We originally had a mechanic shop, but closed due to hard economic times. We got rid of the car shop, and formed it into a spot for bands to play at and called it ‘Steele 1 Junkyard Entertainment,’” says Steele.

She says that artists as big as T-Pain and Ace Hood used the junkyard around 2009 to shoot some of their music videos.

The four guys in the band had been jamming there and were introduced to singer-songwriter Elyze, their frontwoman, by Steele.

“We had been jamming for two years at the junkyard in Hollywood, that’s when we were introduced to Deja, who was a solo artist at the time,” says lead guitarist Fernandez. “We formed a band with her and called ourselves Yardij in March 2014.”

Fernandez is also a senior commercial music major at FAU and had his band signed to Hoot/Wisdom recordings.

The last band to play at Hootstock was a four-piece group called Stoic City. Its set consisted of original songs and covers ranging from U2’s “Vertigo” to Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.”

Throughout the three-hour concert, there was anywhere from 60 to 70 people in attendance and students certainly had favorite artists and songs picked from the night’s show.

Michael Tong, a freshman commercial music major says, “Xander James was the best, I loved his cover song of Ed Sheeran ‘Don’t’. His voice made the song better.”

Another student, John Frank — a freshman psychology major — liked Yardij the most. Frank says, “Yardij was awesome, I liked how they transitioned from rock to funk. I like the way she [Elyze] sang The Allman Brothers’ ‘Whipping Post’, her vocals are soulful like Janis Joplin.”

“It was cool seeing underground bands,” Valery Romulas, a senior civil engineering major says. “I give this show six stars out of five, I wouldn’t change anything about it for the next time.”

Joe Pye is a staff writer with the University Press. To contact him regarding this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.