Despite the conditions that belied the sunny sky and warranted the lead guitarist’s constant blowing of his fingers to stay warm, the band Social Studies played for Paly students on the senior deck after school on Friday, Jan. 11.

Based in San Francisco, Social Studies was formed in 2006 by lead vocalist and keyboardist Natalia Rogovin and drummer Michael Jirkovsky. They were later joined by bassist and backup vocalist Jesse Hudson and lead guitarist Tom Smith in 2009 and by second guitarist Ben McClintock in 2012. Four of the five members, Rogovin, Jirkovsky, Hudson and Smith, were present at the Paly concert.

Featuring Rogovin’s mature and slightly deep voice, Social Studies’ music simply screams indie rock; some Paly students listening to their performance even described it as sounding “hipster,” “wallflowery” and like a “less electronic Passion Pit.” The steady beat of the drum and bass infused with the electric keyboard and guitar emitted a relaxing sound. And true to the (stereotypical) indie image, the members matched their sound and presentation by donning fashionable clothing and shoulder-length hair. Social Studies played a variety of songs from their newest album Developer, released in 2012, and the audience could feel the band enjoying and rocking out to their original music.

The members of Social Studies are all talented and skilled at playing their respective instruments, but their songs lacked a little oomph: they were all similar and blended together in uniformity, sounding almost generic.

“They sound the same as other bands, but they’re pretty good,” junior Mostyn Griffith said.

For those who love indie rock, Social Studies is definitely recommended. However, for those who aren’t particularly fond of indie rock, Social Studies may be a band to skip over or save for another day.

“Personally, I really like the band,” sophomore Ellen Song said. “But Social Studies is only for a specific group of people who like a certain type of music.”

Also, students should not forget about the group who worked hard to get Social Studies to perform at Paly: ASB deserves a round of applause for creating this special experience. Even though the concert was after school, consequently providing Social Studies with a mostly-upperclassmen lingering crowd of 30 by the end of the performance, this concert certainly shows that ASB is starting off well in 2013 by finally starting to reflect the students’ interests.

“I’m glad that ASB was able to get an actual band to show up to give students a little extra,” senior Benjamin May said. “I think that it’s good that they’re becoming a little more creative.”

    If you missed Social Studies, be sure to check out their music! Their songs may sound repetitive to new listeners, but the band has potential to write compelling songs in the future. And keep your fingers crossed that ASB will continue introducing other hidden gems like Social Studies, or to simply provide Paly with more entertaining activities.

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