WXOU presents Lyons and Unknown Neighbors for mainstage concert

WXOU hosted their Thursday Night Mainstage concert featuring performances of two rising local bands: Lyons and Unknown Neighbors. The concert was held on Thursday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in The Habitat at the Oakland Center. All were welcome to enjoy the free show with music reflective of alternative rock and the 80’s era.

The concert became a reality after Mark Leo, manager, vocalist and guitarist for Lyons, contacted Jayme Starr, program director of WXOU to collaborate in hosting a concert. Starr offered Lyons the opportunity to perform as WXOU’s mainstage event — a night dedicated to Student Activity Fund Assessment Committee (SAFAC) organizations that gives them the opportunity to bring the campus together through various types of events — and Leo brought Unknown Neighbors on board to open the show.

Leo was excited about the opportunity to bring live music to campus and introduce Lyons’ music to a new audience base.

“This is a show we did simply to have a great time and spread awareness, not for profit,” Leo said. “College shows are very advantageous and everybody loves seeing an up-and-coming act.”

Not only did the concert serve as a way for the bands to grow their fan base, but it reintroduced live concerts on campus in a big way.

“In a post-Greta Van Fleet world, a new music scene is booming in Michigan unlike any time before. If you combine this with the world we are living in due to the pandemic, people are hungry for live music and straight-up fun — this is a perfect storm,” Leo said.

The COVID-19 pandemic paused live events on a global scale, taking away the unique performer-to-audience encounter that stems from live music as opposed to your typical streaming service.

“What separates live music from hearing music on Spotify is the experience. This is even more valuable for acts that are in the beginning stages of their career when most people seeing them live are seeing them for the first time,” Leo said. “The relationship between an act and an audience is very symbiotic — an act needs to be lively and energetic to not have a dead crowd. When the crowd is having a great time it makes the act more lively and energetic and it’s beautiful to watch.”

Students attending the concert seemed intrigued by the groups that they had not previously heard of. Others came to show support for their OU peers involved in both bands — two members of Lyons are students at OU as well as one member from Unknown Neighbors.

Katlynn W. and McKenna F., both undergraduate students, were excited for the opportunity to see new bands perform on campus.

“Someone handed me a poster and I thought ‘why not?’ so we decided to come see them.” McKenna F. said. “We had never heard of them before but we looked them up on Spotify before we came.”

Andrew Scheldrick, sophomore, came to see Lyons and show his support for the up-and-coming musicians.

“My buddy, Thomas, is in the Lyons — he plays bass. When he was telling me about it he said [they play] mostly 80’s stuff but I’m not entirely sure what that means. I wanted to see him play and see what kind of [music] they play,” Scheldrick said.

Starr hopes showcasing local, OU-affiliated talent will encourage more participants at future WXOU concerts and events. Anybody interested in attending future concerts should keep an eye on the organization’s Instagram and look out for flyers posted around campus. Lyons also provides dates for future performances on their website and their Instagram.