by Molly Robinson

Before the concert, raffle winners got to spend a few minutes of one-on-one time with the Cartel.  Sophomores Katie Pullis and Mandy Jenkins, two out of the few JMU students who won the opportunity to meet the band, have been fans since their middle school days. They described it as an experience they won’t soon to forget and said, ‘’They [Cartel] were really nice; they were really cool. We had some witty banter with them.”

JMU’s own Casey Cavanagh band opened for Cartel. The audience enthusiastically welcomes the lively student band that vocalist/guitarist, Casey Cavanagh, describes as mix of “Rock and Roll with an Alt-Country flair and pop sensibilities.” The band’s set list showcased a variety of different musical styles, from their classic rock-inspired, “The Weight” to their alternative sounding song, “Coming Home.”

Each of the band members- including, Casey Cavanagh, John Giardinere (guitar/ backup vocalist), Sam Gillett (guitar/drums), and Jeff Pober (bass guitar/backup vocals)- manage to juggle their class work, organizations, and jobs and internships with fostering the success of their band. Casey, who has been a fan of Cartel for years was honored to open for them and described the experience as “surreal.”

Magenta lights, black pants, bass notes that shook the stage…Cartel’s concert on Friday, September 24th proved to be an energetic and enjoyable experience that left that audience wanting more.  Large sections of the seats in Wilson’s auditorium were left vacant, but not because of low attendance levels– the energetic fans circled around the active stage. Grey and magenta light washed over the band and highlighted the unique style of band members Will Pugh (vocals/guitar), Joseph Pepper (lead guitar), Nic Hudson (guitar), Jeff Lett (bass), and Kevin Sanders (drums). Cartel played about ten songs including their smash-hit, “Honestly”,  “Say Anything”, “If I Fail”, and a cover of Oasis’s “Wonderwall”.

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