Bands rock Edinboro homecoming

Kat Stafford/Spectator
The High Life played rock music reminiscent of the ‘60s and ‘70s during the Edinboro homecoming concert.
Two bands bring heat to EUP

By Kat Stafford
Staff Writer/Spectator

Despite the freezing weather, there were still people who came to watch the two shows that were provided during Edinboro’s “Rock the Boro” homecoming.  The HighLife and Mayflower Hill performed on that cold Saturday.  The players would blow on their fingers to warm them up, most of the audience was shivering, everyone was trying to stay warm.  And with every new song the bands played, at least one person was singing along.

                              The HighLife

The players of The HighLife are Josh Karickhoff (guitar and vocals), Carl Wozniak (guitar and vocals), and Gus Ward (bass and vocals).  They have been performing together for two and a half years.

They sang rock music from the ‘60s and ‘70s at their concert. Their music was performed acoustically.

“I think that’s what’s cool about it,” Ward said.  “You hear this stuff in bands that are full bands, with drum sets and big amps and keyboards.  And so it puts a twist on it that I think people have never heard…And I think that’s what makes us stand out.”

They played songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Animals, Neil Diamond, and a few others.

There are several reasons why the band plays classic rock. The first one being that they spent a lot of time with their grandparents when they were growing up and their grandparents were always listening to rock music.

The other reason is that, before they came together, Wozniak was singing ‘60s rock music solo.  Wozniak would use Karickhoff’s and Ward’s recording studio from time to time.

After a while, Wozniak and Karickhoff started playing and singing together.

“We kinda discovered that our voices meshed,” Karickhoff said. “And then we’d play and we had all kinds of songs that were in common in terms of what we like to listen to.”

When the band performs, they stated that their goal is to make sure their audience is having fun and singing along.

“We’re not trying to sell records,” Karickhoff said.  “We’re trying to just entertain people.”

“And have fun,” Ward said.

“So, we wanna give people songs that they know,” Karick-hoff continued.  “Basically, what you’re doing when you come out and live The HighLife with us at a show, is you’re basically having a good time, you’re drinking, you’re eating, you’re enjoying music that you know.  Singing along, dancing.  It’s just an outlet for energy.  It’s an outlet for excitement.”

                           Mayflower Hill

Steve Soliwoda (bass), Jared Cooney (lead guitar), Dave Tucker (drums), and Tyler Woodruff (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) make up the band Mayflower Hill.  While they were performing, Tucker and Soliwoda were in the homecoming spirit.  They were jamming out while wearing kilts. 

Mayflower Hill is a country band, so that is mostly what they played along with three of their original songs thrown in.  And to mix things up a bit, they also played a song by Tom Petty and a song by The Lumineers, two bands that are clearly not country.

The reason for the variety in music Cooney states is, “We [the band] come from all different backgrounds: metal, classical.  We just love music in general… We like to mix it up.  Sometimes we do a ‘90s song, a rock song.  We’re primarily a country band, but at the same time we want everyone to have fun. 

“Because when you’re at a concert or some type of venue, not everyone there likes country music.  So when you throw that one song in there that someone really appreciates, it’s pretty awesome.”

“A lot of it comes down to judging a crowd,” Soliwoda said.  “Just looking at a crowd and feeling it out and going, ‘Oh, this is not working.’ And then we have the ability to switch.”

Originally, they were a metal band.  They changed because “around here the whole scene is hardcore, metal, pop, rock,” Woodruff said.  “So, we all played in those, but there is never a country scene for young people.”

They started performing together two years ago and things have been looking up for them.  Their self-titled album was released this year.  And on stage, they mentioned they had just won the Rock Erie Music Awards for Country Band of the year.   

“That’s a pretty big accomplishment after only being a band for two years,” Soliwoda said.

Mayflower Hill will be performing at the Crossroads Diner Halloween party on Oct. 31.

Kat Stafford is the staff writer for The Spectator. She can be reached by ae.spectator@gmail.com