This May 21st, come celebrate neurodivergent musicians and songwriters at Spectrum Laboratory’s music showcase! Spec Lab Records Presents will be live at North Hollywood’s famous Knitting Factory where The Spec Bands and songwriting students will take to the stage with some good vibes and even greater music. The night will feature original songs, accompanied by the Neurotribe band, as well as classic covers performed by the Spec Band students of Spec Labs’ music department.
The showcase is fast approaching and the students have been hard at work perfecting their performances for the event. I had the pleasure of attending some rehearsal sessions to get an inside look at the students’ preparation for their big show.
I headed over to the Spec Labs’ recording studio for the Advanced Songwriting Class where I was greeted by six friendly faces, plus one on Zoom. The studio is a small, cozy room with an adjoining recording booth. It was just enough space for the seven of us, but not much more, which lent itself to an intimate collaborative atmosphere. I came in halfway through class, right in the thick of a workshopping session for student Max Tuber’s song, “Stuck in a Cellphone Crisis.” The focus at this moment was on the chorus. Garth Herberg, Spec Labs’ co-founder and songwriting class instructor, suggested adding a higher-pitched harmony on the repeated line, “I just wanted to go home,” to add more dimension to the chorus. The class concurred, and it wasn’t long before each of the students was hopping into the booth to back up Tuber’s vocals on the track.
In this moment, I was exposed to the camaraderie of the group, and the respect they had for one another as fellow artists. This collaborative vibe continued throughout the rest of the session, as each student shared their nearly completed demos with the class. The students weren’t shy to provide input on each other’s songs or to step into the booth for a feature or back-up vocal.
With every passing demo, I got to see the completely unique voice of each student, both in their lyrics and vocals. From synth heavy electro-pop, to bouncy hip-hop, to an angsty ballad, each original song covered a different base of the musical catalog. A week later and everyone’s catchy songs are still stuck in my head!
I also made a visit to a rehearsal session for both of The Spec Bands. When I stepped into the practice space, the first band was rehearsing. It was a completely different vibe from the chill, intimate songwriting session. My ears were blasted with sound coming from all corners of the room. The speakers were turned on and amped up, capturing every hit of the drums and pull of guitar strings to bring to life The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” The room was bigger and the sound was louder, but that same level of fun and collaboration was present through both bands' rehearsals.
The bands’ setlists consist of classic rock and soul covers–the kind of familiar music that makes you want to sing and dance along with the musicians. The Spec Bands make the songs their own with their energetic spunk and flair. The members of the Spec Bands invite you in with their warm smiles and carefree dancing. Their energy is infectious; they make it easy for the audience to have as much fun watching from the crowd as the band is having on stage. And this was only a rehearsal!
The showcase at the Knitting Factory is sure to be a night to remember thanks to the talent and hard work of Spec Labs’ music students. Both individually and collectively, whether through an original song or an unforgettable cover, the Spec Lab artists are prepared to share the joy of music and put on performances that will make the audience wish they were rocking out alongside them.
Doors open at 6 pm and the show kicks into high gear at 7 pm. It’s going to be a night of music and fun you’ll never forget, so make sure to buy your tickets now and come support Spec Labs' artists! Head over to noho.knittingfactory.com now or click on the flier at the top of the page to buy your tickets for this amazing night of music. We can’t wait to see you there!
-Michael Ware, Spectrum Laboratory