After a hard and cold loss to the Wolverines, the Ohio State Buckeyes and the whole city of Columbus were in dire need of some warmth and a little holiday cheer. Luckily for all those jam band and electronic fans out there, finding that O-H-I-O spirit was right on the outskirts of campus, on the cold and gloomy Wednesday evening after Thanksgiving.
On November 30th, the Colorado based electro-funk trio, Sunsquabi, came with the heat of the mile-high sun as Donohue, Anderson and Fairman took the stage at The Summit Music Hall. As fans began to roar the venue felt as if it was tightening up. The crowd packed inward as if we were about to take the field after a big win. The anticipation is well deserved for Sunsquabi as the band is well-known and growing undoubtedly fast within the first 3 years of their first EP release back in 2016, touring across the nation before the pandemic in the electronic scene and also at music festivals. Sunquabi typically plays alongside other jam and electronic bands like The Floozies, The Motet, STS9, and Russ Liquid just to name a few. But the band became much more popular in the Ohio region when they played multiple sets alongside Ohio University’s very own electro-jam band, Papadosio at the multi-day music festival Resonance which last took place outside of Columbus in 2018.
The lights dim and Donohue starts us off easy with a few notes from the keyboard that perk up the ears of the crowd. Next Anderson brings in a soft high-hat drum to make everyone start tapping their feet. Once in tune the dub and groove blend through the sound of Fairman’s bass. Tethered together into one fine and funky groove line that turns the whole crowd into one big puddle of goo. Donohue pops off with a sweet and simple solo that makes every fan want to play the air guitar, and right as we get to the peak of the riff –
BOOM! One song is now being blended into the next song so the dancing never stops.
Two to three songs in and everyone has already forgotten about the freezing temperatures accruing outside the venue doors. The air thickened and the room became humid but the music still hit like a bomb of rainbow paint dropped into a bucket of water. Joy was found that night when the music and lights infused within each other like grandma’s homemade chicken soup for the soul. The dynamite trio, Sunsquabi, lit up The Summit Music Hall brighter than your family Christmas tree, with a face melting, funk-tronic, hip shaking performance which featured their top played song on Spotify, “Cinnamon”, from the album Deluxe EP created in 2017.
I have now seen Sunsquabi perform live 5 times where the last time I saw them was at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. It was my first concert in almost two years because of the pandemic and my only goal was to enjoy the entire experience. Right before the beginning of their second set the band got emotional and spoke to us about their feelings during the pandemic. The thoughts of being alone and without their fans while being on lockdowns. They said it was hard at first and gave them many doubts since they were an uprising band who had just released their third album to the world but were now not allowed to perform that same album live. What they said next was that they found joy in the hard times because they had each other so they could work on creating new content for their fans and refining their skills so they could put on even better shows when the time came.
That small moment, connecting with the audience made me realize how passionate those guys are about their art and the value they hold on their fans. Even though the Red Rocks show was a much bigger event, I felt that same attention, love and energy while they played in my backyard of Columbus, OH.
Sunsquabi promised us a year ago that they would come strong to every show they played.
It just goes to show, what you put into this world will equally come out. Even during hard times, cold weather, or big time championship losses you too can find the spark that keeps you going. That little spark is all you need to set a fire within you and in the others around you that are inspired by you. So, never give up my fellow Buckeyes, you are never alone. There will always be a crowd of people to finish the -I-O to your O-H, so long as Sunsquabi is playing in the background bringing sunshine and fun times to the Buckeye Campus.