“Hyland” and “In Harbour” perform on campus mall

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Bands may provide entertainment to crowds, but that’s usually not the only reason they play. It’s about the band having fun, too, at least that’s what the band members of the Christian rock group “Hyland” said.

“If this wasn’t fun, we would all be quitting,” Steve Weigel, drummer for “Hyland,” said.

This idea was clearly shown at UW-Eau Claire during a Friday evening concert on the campus mall. The University Activities Commission hosted the Sept. 11 event for a crowd of students that peaked at about 100 people.

“Hyland” is a Minneapolis-based group that plays all original songs, said Jon Lewis, the lead singer and songwriter for “Hyland.” The four other band members are Lee Carter on bass, Ben Early on keyboard, Mitch Hansen on lead guitar, and Weigel on drums.

During the UAC event, Twin Cities-based band “In Harbour,” got the concert night started at about 7:20 p.m. The four-member group played smooth, slower rock songs while the audience mingled in groups or played Frisbee. The set lasted about 35 minutes.

After a brief break, “Hyland” took the stage, opening with the upbeat song “Til Death.” But the group was not content to let the crowd mill around the campus mall.

“What do you do when you pay [for a concert]?” asked Lewis. He beckoned the audience to move closer to the stage. “Can we pretend it’s not free?”

The majority of the audience squeezed up close to the edge of the stage, remaining there for the rest of the show.

Throughout the performance, “Hyland” stayed with its joking style. The band interacted with the crowd constantly, often poking fun at the actions of band members or even teasing the audience about Packer-turned-Viking quarterback Brett Favre.

“Hyland” kept up the fast pace of the songs, but mixed it up with slower tunes, such as “Face the Rain.” But no matter the tempo, “Hyland” weaved strong vocals and keyboard sounds into the performance.

Students in attendance seemed to enjoy the performance, which lasted just under an hour. Senior Sarah Miller said she had fun and really liked not only “Hyland,” but the concert events in general.

“It’s neat that they (UAC) have concerts,” Miller said. “It really gets people involved.”

UAC concert chair senior Nicole Feldkamp agreed with Miller, saying she was impressed by the number of people that showed up.

Feldkamp also said that because of a small budget, UAC has to pick and choose which dates to hold an event and also select bands people will know and like. “Hyland” delivered on all counts, she said.

“It was great,” Feldkamp said. “They were exactly what we expected and more.”

Colleges like UW-Eau Claire are one of the main venues for “Hyland” performances, Lewis said. Last year while on tour, the group made it to 17 states and played about 120 shows. And for “Hyland,” the location of the venue or type of show doesn’t matter. It’s the performance itself that is important.

“We like to play campus crusades, colleges,” Lewis said. “We just like to play.”

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