Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

The Basement – 11/16/2023 – Henry Walters

Henry Walters refuses to be confined to one genre. He and his band’s unique blend of styles left me with a lingering sense of power, as if I had been totally recharged after a long day. They defied expectations with a Basement setlist that bewildered me. From the first two songs of the night, I was hooked on these talented musicians. 

Each of them brilliantly showcased their talents on “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” their second song of the night. Henry Walters’ brother, Sid Walters, had no shortage of killer drum fills, constantly driving the band with vigor. Henry Walters served a gritty tone with his gripping vocals.

I was happy to have been listening in Impact’s adjacent production studio. While it was a bit cramped, there being four other people in the room, the band allowed me to immerse myself in the vibes and realize how lucky I was to listen.

Henry Walters and his band are difficult to categorize. They describe themselves as a psychedelic rock band, but “Wildflower Bouquet” strongly challenges that label. The expressivity exhibited here had more of a prog rock feel to it. I must say, this part of the concert was out of left field. The first two songs had set a precedent that was totally upended in the most awesome way. I was mystified, almost transported by the combination of acoustic guitar and synth. I knew as soon as Sid Walters got on the keys that this was not an ordinary rock band, and the result was truly magical. If their goal was to hold my attention, they achieved it.

As it was, the bandmates met in high school. Henry and Sid Walters had come from a musical household. When they met Dante, the rest was history. I would love to have seen the evolution of this band from then. When they came together that night at the Impact, I could hear their shared experience speaking through their music. 

Should the reader choose, they can listen to this band on Bandcamp and Spotify. All songs from this concert are available, though I recommend all versions of “Hot To Trot,” which was not featured in this concert. As a musician, I am fascinated by the creative process. That song allows a listener like myself to catch a glimpse inside the songwriting process: a rare treat.

“Wash Away” was by far my favorite song from this concert. The lazy nature of the tune nicely complemented the rhythm. Dante delivered us a groove that was truly right and just. The title of this song is also reflective of the grungy slosh of sound that warmly radiated across the room. I have to say there were some tuning issues here. Whether or not that was intentional is something I don’t know, but it took me out of the moment at times. Regardless, they had me glued to my chair with that sticky rhythm.

The band discussed their influences and inspiration. Among those, Flight of the Conchords — a band famous for comedy — stood out to me. I had to listen back to some of their performances to compare. I understand what Sid Walters meant when he said they were the “number one” band that describes their style. Add a little reverb to the guitars and, aside from the vocals, they are very similar and they both rock. The Flight of the Conchords sound is just one style in an impressive range.

The energy in Impact’s production studio was chill. Our audio production director, Drew Silski, was hard at work cooking up a fire mix live in front of our eyes. You could feel the heat from this guy — we had to cool him off with ice between every song. I think the band’s tenacity might have inspired him to keep our eardrums titillated.

I can say this band is committed to two things: rocking and shapeshifting. Their loud and fast songs will have you floored, and in the same set they’ll appear soft and ethereal. I can’t help but wonder where they will choose to take their sound in the future. 

I’m confident that when this band works, they go full-send. I want to thank them for keeping that energy during this performance, because it was so fun to listen to.

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About the Contributors
Robbie Sullivan, Writer
Robbie Sullivan (he/him) is a physics major at Michigan State University graduating in May of 2024. As a volunteer at the Impact, he loves beat-making, creative writing, audio mixing and all kinds of music. When he isn’t in tears from struggling with calculus, he is probably listening to some ‘70s funk, ‘80s rock or even some ‘90s grunge. Beyond music, he enjoys the great outdoors and being in nature. Kayaking, mountain biking and hiking are his favorite hobbies. “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” - Carl Sagan
Ana Wagen, Video Editor
Ana Wagen (they/them) is a junior at Michigan State studying digital storytelling, with minors in documentary production and environmental social science. They started at Impact 89FM in January 2023 as a volunteer for the Media Team, and loved it so much they decided to become the Video Coordinator. They're a big fan of the Milwaukee Brewers, gainz, and heavy music. They are the only person in the world that likes Tonight Alive's whole discography. "AAAA!" - Them Bones by Alice In Chains

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