“I really wanted to see the first Broadside Electric show,” the frontman for the Attic Stairs Dan Wriggins ’14 told the audience at Ardmore’s Milk Boy Coffee last Saturday. “But I hadn’t been born yet.” The audience erupted in laughter.
Despite the age differences of the bandmembers, the acoustic folk outfits have a lot in common. Both formed while its members were students at Haverford. Both are enamored of unusual instruments (fiddle, dulcimer, flute, oboe, mandolin, recorder, upright bass, etc.). And both were on familiar ground last Saturday night at MilkBoy Coffee near campus. Broadside Electric has performed at the coffee shop on numerous occasions, and the Attic Stairs recently participated in an open mic night there. (This concert, though, marked the first official off-campus show for the Attic Stairs.)
The Attic Stairs, made up of current Haverford students, first caught the eye of the alums in Broadside Electric when lead vocalist Tom Rhoads ’90 spotted a recent Haverford.edu article about their forthcoming debut. Rhoads and his band listened to a few clips of the Attic Stairs online and knew they had found their opening act.
Broadside Electric violinist Helene Zisook BMC ’92 called the experience of playing with the students “totally thrilling,” and both groups were eager to hear and learn from each other’s work.
“It’s nice to be part of a long and healthy tradition of music at Haverford” said Attic Stairs guitarist Charlie Birkel ’14.
Broadside Electric formed in Sept. 1990 and consisted of Rhoads, multi-instrumentalist Rachel Hall ’91, bassist Jim Speer ’90 and Zisook. They played their first full performance in Lunt Basement on Dec. 8 the same year. A year later, Hall left to pursue a Watson Fellowship, but the band picked up Melissa Demian BMC ’93 for a few years until she left to pursue a Ph.D. in social anthropology. They solidified their current lineup in 1997 when they added drummer Joe D’Andrea and wind instrumentalist Amy Ksir. Since their inception, they’ve played in numerous venues around the Northeast including the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
The Attic Stairs, which formed last year, consist of Wriggins, Birkel, flautist Evangeline Krajewski ’14, bassist Martin Richard ’14 and multi-instrumentalist Alicia Resnick ’13. The release of their debut recording, which was paid for by the Student Arts Fund and the band’s own online fundraising, is due out on vinyl within a few months. Until then, you can catch them opening for another folk outfit, Spirit Family Reunion, tonight (Feb. 3) at 9:30 p.m. in Lunt Basement.