Sunday: “Fill the Hill”

By Tappan Parker

This Sunday marks the annual return of the Patriot’s Day Hill Concert. The concert kicks off at 11:45 a.m. on Sunday, April 18 and goes till 6 p.m. by the Van Meter basketball courts in Central. Food will be available for purchase as well from Greeno and Sweets and More.

Last year’s event was one for the books with 4,000 students attending. Event coordinator, Dave Robertson explains that aside from the Spring Concert and the sports games, this is one of the biggest UMass events. “I want to see 5,000 people this year” he said.

There are currently seven bands playing for the event including Kids on a Hill, Nihility, Roots in Stereo, High and Mighty, The Dads, Orange Television, Viada, and solo artist Alex Erickson, who will be playing in between sets.

The opening band, Kids on a Hill, is a jazz, soul and funk band that loosely covers various classic songs including “Crosstown Traffic” by Jimi Hendrix and “Could You Be Loved” by Bob Marley. But the band does play some of their own material and they bring their own flair to the covers they do play. Kids on a Hill also has an uncanny ability to get crowds moving and grooving to the funk. This is definitely a band worth checking out. Bring your breakfast and dance!

Nihility, a rock band hailing from Tewksbury, MA, will be taking the stage later in the day as the event continues. The all student band sounds decent enough and is certainly worth a listen.

The Dads is another band originating in Van Meter. Similar to Nihility, the two bands have previously played shows together as well. Citing their influences as KISS and Bill Cosby on their MySpace page, hillsters can expect the band to deliver a good time for all.

Orange Television is a 90s-inspired rock and funk band. While these are the main sounds in the band, there is a definite jazz influence that can be heard in their music. Their songs tend to have many unusual rhythms and some of their riffs can be quite involved. With a definite emphasis on instrumental songs and improvisation, the band will be quite a fun band to rock out to on Sunday.

Roots in Stereo, another Amherst band, is a hip-hop, reggae jam band featuring guitars, drums and turntables. Many of the band members also come from the New England area and seem to have a considerable amount of groove to them.

Alex Erickson is a UMass student and acoustic artist whose sound can be compared to artists like John Mayer and Jason Mraz. Erickson is quite an accomplished artist with a fantastic voice. Erickson will provide musical interludes between acts so as to keep the crowd moving.

Attendees can also expect the best from High and Mighty, returning to play the coveted 4:20 p.m. spot for a second straight year, this time with members of Amherst’s own The Telephone Company.

The Fill the Hill concert should be an easy going way to spend a Sunday afternoon… provided the weather cooperates. So come out to experience a day of food and music on the Van Meter hill. Check out the bands … and relax.

Tappan Parker can be reached at [email protected]