Many students choose to spend their Friday and Saturday nights partying with friends. Others would rather spend their weekend nights in neighboring towns like Portsmouth and Newington.
But for the past month, The Sam King Band, a new student band, has been gaining the attention of hundreds of partygoers in front of Wildcatessen every weekend.
Charles Weinmann (drummer), Corey Persson (guitarist), Alex Philbrick (bassist), Sam King (singer), and Ian Sleeper (guitarist), make up this new aspiring band.
Beginning as jam sessions between Weinmann, Persson, and Sleeper, the group eventually met King at the University of New Hampshire’s The Grind, an open mic night presented by Campus Activities Board (CAB), and decided to form a band. Philbrick, who was friends with Weinmann since the beginning of the fall semester, joined the band soon after it was formed.
The band’s title may share the same name as its lead singer, but all of the members stressed that it does not mean King is the main player in the band. The inspiration for the name, as well as for their music, came from bands like the Dave Matthews Band and the John Mayer Trio.
“They’re all classy and simple, but it’s a collaborative effort named after one guy,” Weinmann said. “It’s not just one person writing the songs. We all contribute.”
The Sam King Band began playing outside of Wildcatessen after they performed at the UNH Prom. Having not yet satisfied their thirst for playing, they sat in front of the convenient-store and 20 to 30 people suddenly flocked to their location. They have been playing outside of Wildcatessen every weekend since their first experiment.
“We were just expecting a few people to walk by and throw us a quarter, but more people kept coming,” Sleeper said.
Since the band’s first outing, more than 50 people stop by and sit to watch them play. They estimate that more than 100 people stop by during the night, and they often see familiar faces as they play outside more and more.
With Wildcatessen located right next to Stoke Hall, the group has received a number of noise complaints due to their loud music, but their have fans stood by and supported the band.
“Somebody in Stoke goes, ‘Be quiet!’ And everybody goes, ‘Shut up,’” Sleeper said. “It’s good to have loyal followers.”
The unique location also offers its fair share of strange encounters. One girl asked to have her arm signed, and instead of cash in the donation case they found a marijuana cigarette.
The group is currently scheduled to play at Saturday’s May Day carnival, and is opening for hip-hop/rap artist Moufy on May 6 at Tilton School in Tilton, N.H.
While the outside sessions have given them a strong following on campus, the members have much higher goals in mind: they plan to take The Sam King Band much farther than UNH.
“The goal is to not get practical jobs in our lives and live as musicians. All of us,” King said.