By Lis Steinberg
On May 10th, The Great Scott in Allston, MA became a Chicago style house party as indie-pop band Varsity belted out their catchy, moving, tunes as well as some of their unreleased songs. Prior to the show, the five band members wandered around the venue scattering themselves, allowing fans to walk up to them as they pleased. This led to my conversation with one of the guitarists of Varsity, Patrick Stanton. Stanton told me the band had played at the Great Scott in December of 2016, almost two years ago, and that although they hadn’t found any clam chowder while here, they were extremely excited to be back in Boston. After agreeing to some photos, the entire band gathered on stage helping to clear off the equipment of the opening act, Baby!, a Boston based, indie-rock trio who opened for Gus Dapperton a few months prior at this same venue.
Lead singer and keyboardist of Varsity, Stephanie Smith, opened the show with “A Friend Named Paul” as the band played behind her, smiling at each other and enjoying their apparent comradery. The song started off with a soothing hook and slowly progressed with heavier drums thanks to drummer, Jake Stolz, and thus, higher energy towards the end of the song. This high energy carried over into their next song, “Must Be Nice,” a song about yearning for someone who isn’t there. By the end of the song a majority of the crowd was jumping in cohesion and dancing with each other.
As the band transitioned into the middle segment of the show, they discussed football, mistakenly mentioning the Eagles to a Boston crowd, and then laughing it off charmingly. They brought up their lack of clam chowder once again and then offered the crowd chewing gum, a strange combination of topics which can only describe the quirky, fun, dynamic between the group. They followed the friendly banter with their most popular song, “So Sad, So Sad,” another song describing the “sad” nature of unrequited love. The song’s ironically upbeat melody got the crowd bouncing again.
Among all the songs played, the most humorous was the next on the setlist, “Gordi, You’re A Saint,” which Smith mentioned was written about a dog she used to walk, Gordi, to which the owner’s choice of currency in exchange was marijuana. One of the guitarist’s, Dylan Weschler, engaged in banter with Smith asking if she sold it or smoked it, to which she responded, neither because both are illegal. Not too long after, the crowd yelled back that in Massachusetts, the drug is indeed legal, to which she responded, “In that case, I smoked it.”
The band closed the show with “Isolation”, a song about the winter, “Krissy”, “Lied For You”, and a few never-before-played songs. Their high energy spread to the crowd while playing throughout the entire show as they upheld their heartwarming, Chi-town, funky, rock-pop sound.