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Real People Music dazzles at Sprung

For those who didn’t attend — and were perhaps wondering what was going on at FloMo Field this past weekend — Sprung Music Festival 2016, put on by the Stanford Concert Network, assembled a diverse team of artists for another captivating musical event. Attempting to cover every act at this five-hour festival in 500 words would do a disservice to all concerned. I will, however, do my best to provide a snapshot of the event by discussing the phenomenal set put on by Stanford’s own Real People Music.

I’ve seen a lot of bands perform on Stanford’s campus, and I’ve seen Real People Music a number of times. And somehow, no matter how many times I do, they never get old. This is due in part to their impressive live repertoire, including original songs as well as a variety of covers – ranging from Stevie Wonder to Parliament to Hiatus Kaiyote. With set-lists like theirs, things are always interesting, and Real People Music undoubtedly have the technical chops to back up this stylistic range.

Real People Music’s stunning performance at Sprung exemplified both the range and the talent of those onstage. Case in point: the band’s cover of Alicia Keys’s “Fallin’,” which transitioned seamlessly into a rendition of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” and back again, featuring the show-stopping pipes of vocalist Gracie Laboy ‘16. Though such an epic mash-up might sound like a difficult feat, the folks at Real People Music pulled it off effortlessly.

The band demonstrated their depth not only through their wide range of expertly handled covers, but also through their original work. James Hanley ‘16 announced a new original song thusly at last weekend’s performance: “I wrote this song. It’s called ‘The Stanford Blues.’ It’s about feeling bad and stuff.” (Check it out on their new SoundCloud release “Sprung EP [Demo],” along with other Sprung originals such as “Sensitive Stinger.”) Between the band’s classic blues riffs, Hanley’s impassioned howls, and a variety of Stanford-specific takes on classic blues lyrics, “The Stanford Blues” was a hit, providing levity to balance out the melancholy of this otherwise fairly traditional track.

Real People Music provided the perfect closer to a phenomenal set in the form of an exuberant rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish.” A song capable of getting any crowd moving and humming along, the Stevie Wonder cover perfectly suited the atmosphere of SCN’s 2016 Sprung Festival and cemented Real People Music’s status as one of Stanford’s most consistently excellent live bands. Considering their routinely high-caliber live shows, embodied in their performance at this year’s festival, the next time we see Real People Music may well be on a higher-profile stage.

Contact Tyler Dunston at tdunston ‘at’ stanford.edu. 

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