The crowd whispers excitedly as they gaze forward at the four band players setting up their equipment, each member just as nervous as the next.
A dim purple hue illuminates the Hard Rock Cafe, all eyes focused on center stage on Underfire. Suddenly the lead guitarist and vocalist Max Carrillo steps forward to the mic, holding it in the palm of his hand as he screams, “Are you guys ready to have a good time?!”
This wasn’t Underfire’s first live performance, nor scheduled to be their last. The rock band, composed of Columbia College Chicago music majors, has appearanced at the school-wide concert Little Mouth, and their song “Leaving You” has been played on on 88.9fm on a few occasions. That night they played a 45 minute set and shared the stage with Marina City, Ida Jones, and Jaime Lono from the FOX tv show “The Voice.”
“We sold 89 tickets, and then other people came up as well, I definitely consider it a successful night,” Carrillo said.
Fellow guitarist in the band Chris Dingman agreed, recalling how along with Carrillo, bassist Sean Rierden and drummer Doug Harris, they all practiced their set everyday leading up to the event since they became aware of the opportunity and wanted to make sure they were ready.
“I think they performed very well,” Junior James Pirruccello said. “I’m always a fan of live music, but it’s even cooler when you meet some of them and they personally thank you for coming to the show. It really shows how down to earth they all are.”
Once they began to play at the event, it was evident from the enthusiastic screams from the crowd that they were more than pleased.
Although Underfire’s music is on the harder side of the rock scale of music, Carrillo describes writing his songs as a sort of “healing process”, with many underlying lyrics.
“I have many different themes and subjects that I talk about in my songs. Some are about addiction, how to handle tragedies in life,moving on, and helping others,” Carrillo said.
The band will played at IAM fest May 21 and are attempting to get their names on the Warped Tour lineup for this summer.