The Write Up: The PitchPockets at The East Room
The. Pitch. Pockets. by far is one of the best live shows we’ve seen in a long time. Not only was the crowd engaged the entire time but the openers were incredible and set up the main event perfectly but, the entire group carried a professional, eager, and enthusiastic energy throughout their entire, very difficult set. The PitchPockets blew us away Saturday night headlining their live show at The East Room. If you haven't had the pleasure to see The PitchPockets yet, they are a nine-piece funk band that was started in September of 2021. Founders Connor Feihler, AJ Huang, and Peter Kastaris actually went to highschool together. After the pandemic, they got together and started gathering some of the best musicians on Belmont’s campus. The PitchPockets include lead vocalists, Corrina Gill, and Elise Petersen. Next is their incredible horns section, Nick Arbogast on trumpet, AJ Huang on Saxophone, and Jack Warren on Saxophone. Last but definitely not least is their rhythm section, Peter Kastaris on drums, crowd-favorite, Connor Fiehler on guitar, Isaac Mauldin on bass, and Vance Mazure on guitar.
Before the PitchPockets even began playing the audience was flush with the stage, they had packed the East Room on November 6th. Taking the stage, the crowd quickly began to shout their favorite things about the band, some admiring Vance’s sparkly blue custom Crook, some admiring both vocalists' lilac jackets, and some were admiring Connor, just Connor, yeah. Well anyways, The PitchPockets’ set started off with their cover of The Heartburn Song by Lawrence. Starting out the song was Connor Fiehler, hitting us with the first verse and kicking off the crowd’s energy, leaning into the theme of the song, we got a taste of the fire and The PitchPockets let the crowd know, ‘we're gonna be alright’. Soon after, Elise made a name for herself instantly with her powerful vocal riffs only a minute into the show. Next up was their cover of Sour Candy by Melt, the beginning of the song was started by Elise. Before finishing the first line, the crowd was already roaring, the arrangement was giving Lazy Song by Bruno Mars, Sour Candy was going to be the earworm in our heads for the rest of the week. The energy of the crowd was unmatched singing, “but I hate the way it tastes”, and leaning on the rest of the crowd. Little did we know, AJ Huang’s sax solo was going to ascend the crowd to a new level of grooooove. The entire horn section brought us back into song with Elise taking the next section, killing her improv section with her incredible belt and octave defying runs.
Pitch Pockets’s third song, ‘Double Header’ was written and composed by their very own trumpet player and saxophonist, Nick Arbogast and Jack Warren. ‘Double Header’ was The PitchPockets only instrumental of the night and it was incredible. Although originally called, Jix Nastery, it highlighted every instrumentalists insane skills and talent. In case you thought you could pass up a horn section, you can’t, especially the brass men in PitchPockets, they deserve all the praise they get and more! The crowd didn’t know what was about to hit them in the next song, Issac caught the crowd attention with a raspy shout “YYYYEEAAAAAUOOOOHHHH” and ‘Don't Wanna Fight’ was started. The crowd’s energy hit a new high with each song playing, and the PitchPockets kept momentum and absorbed every ounce of praise they were getting. Corrina hit us with a raspy high belt leading Connor and Vance into a call and response section between the two guitarists. Bringing Chandler Rosen and Paige Parucci (vocalists front he opening performers), PitchPockets began their fifth song of the night ‘Fall Into Place’ by Couch. Giving underground coffee shop bar in New York energy, the crowd vibed with this happy-go-lucky song. Now with four female vocalists, you can only imagine how incredible their harmonized chorus sections were, they were powerful and completely insync hitting every downbeat and triplet the vocal lines gave them. Inviting the crowd join in to sing my favorite line of the song ‘someone is twisting my right arm behind my back, and yanking on my life’. The crowd ‘Ooo’d and ‘Ahhhh’d as the horn section blasted through the vocalists charm, letting the audience know that it was time to focus on horns.
By far our favorite song on the set was ‘Dr. Funk’ by The Main Squeeze. Isaac hit us with the stankiest bass line I’ve ever heard, before we knew it the entire crowd was dancing, jumping, and getting into the ‘funk lean’. Now, the ‘funk lean’ is so difficult to achieve but when the entire audience is leaning so far back because your music is so good, you know you’ve done a great job. By the time the crowd could catch up with how far they were leaning back they knew we “had to call a doctor”. We held on to dear life, as the PitchPocket vocalist took us on the ride of life, bringing us through dynamic swells left and right while feeding us with their abundance of runs, riffs, and vocal stamina. You already knew that the horn section was going to kill it next section, dueling and switching off notes with a custom blue sparkly guitar dawned by Vance, it was a sight to see, as the energy from the band members oozed from their instruments. By the end of the song, the entire crowd was bowing down to the PitchPockets and their insane musicianship.
Next up on set was another original, expertly crafted by saxophonist, AJ Huang, called ‘Out My Mind’. When asked, AJ Huang is quoted in saying, “The progression to “Out My Mind” has been stuck in my head and in my voice memos since sophomore year of high school — it was kind of the mark of when I really started getting into music and back into playing the piano. As an instrumentalist, I’ve never been too great with words so being able to get together and write with amazingly talented songwriters and beautiful people like Corrina, Elise, and Connor was such a cool experience! I’m so excited to share this song with more people in the future!”. ‘Out My Mind’ started with just a voice memo of a high school sophomore, posing the question, “Will you ever go out my mind?’ and soon disregards the question by saying “Fuck the stop signs”, and we allknow how that goes. Right as we thought, “wow AJ is already a good instrumentalist and now he can write too!?!”, he hit us with a saxophone solo straight from the gods. AJ had a creative balance between fast and slow notes, adding the dynamics of the song and the intricate story. Ending the song was a short riff-off between Corrina and Elise, which only reminded us and prefaced their unweathering talent for their next song.
The electricity of the crowd with the levels of audience participation, only added to the enjoyment of the show. Everyone was singing along with ‘Love on Top’ by Beyonce, PitchPockets’ 8th song. Y'all when I say the brought the beat in, THEY BROUGHT IN THE BEAT, THE FUNK, THE LEAN, THE GROOVE, THE STANK, EVERYTHING. Not only were Elise’s runs and belts to die for, Vance took his spotlight and gave us every nook and cranny not that makes ‘Love On Top’ one of the best songs to ever be covered, Vance is truly a guitarist to look out for. Now, Elise, where could we even begin. Every syllable she sang was finished with diction and was with perfect tone, every vowel was open and well-placed in her vocal cords. Not to mention, Elise nailed every key change the song has to offer, which is four!! Four key changes, and she did not break a sweat, and the crowd just adored her, in honest awe of her raw talent. The PitchPockets simply walked into The East Room on November 6th, and killed it. Not leaving a single crumb because, they simply ATE up their entire show.
Almost ending their show, PitchPockets brought a close friend, Walker Burroughs, to sing their last setlist song, ‘In The Stone’. Walker came on stage and brought charisma and stage presence, immediately dancing and grooving with Corrina. We were eagerly listening to every word Elise, Corrina, and Walker sang as their three-part harmonies filled the audience’s ears. Before we knew it, Connor stepped up giving his own vocal solo, prompting someone in the crowd to yell ‘Connor sign my chest’, for better words, Connor killed it time and time again when he stepped up to the mic. Sadly, it was time for the concert to close, but the audience was having none of it. Chanting from the balcony to the back row to the front rows, everyone was looking for more and the encore was exactly what was needed. Once again, engaging the already receptive and enthusiastic crowd, Connor split the crowd in three sections to sing along the the chorus of their final song, ‘Back Pocket’ by Vulfpeck.Thinking Elise was singing the first verse, everyone looked over, only to look back at Connor in amazement, he was singing in some of the clearest falsetto, male vocalists could only dream of, bringing the crowd to a near hush, only for him to finish and receive an overwhelming amount of positive shouts. Next up was Corrina, reminding us she is a powerhouse vocalist and that a great alto can and should never be underappreciated, her belting verses and chorus was a call for well-deserved recognition and praise. The PitchPockets finished out an evening of excellence with a bang.
The PitchPockets are an absolute must see group, we will never stop talking about. For a lack of better words, they encapsulated the word, incredible. Overall, the blend and connection this group has is unstoppable and puts them above the rest. Standing out as one of the best artists/bands we’ve ever seen. Although, they have no upcoming releases or shows for 2021, The PitchPockets hope to do some huge things in early 2022. They are constantly posting content and performance clips to our socials so keep it locked and give them a follow @thepitchpockets on Instagram, TikTok and more for all their updates.
Photo Credit: Jason Fiehler