Middleton band rocks Summerfest
A band made up of seven MHS students recently performed at Summerfest in Milwaukee.
The band, Autumn Underground, performed at the Kohl’s Captivation Station on June 27. The members include: Jake Stampen (vocals), Nick Hoskins (lead guitar), Austin Koistinen (guitar), Adam Jordahl (bass guitar), Liam Patton (drums), Mike Hoot (saxophone) and Jordan Foster (trumpet). Patton was in France as part of the MHS exchange program and missed the Summerfest show. He was replaced by Chris Di Bernardo, a 2011 MHS graduate who is studying at the percussion studio at Northern Illinois.
Jordahl will be a junior in the fall at MHS, while the others will be seniors.
The band played a 75-minute set before a packed house of more than 100 people at Summerfest, John Stampen said. Jake Stampen and Hoskins opened with a three-song acoustic set to buy time for Hoot, who was driving from Madison where he was attending a music clinic at the University of Wisconsin. That was followed by a 12-song set that included the seven songs from their new album and five from other artists.
“Autumn Underground had a great Summerfest experience,’’ John Stampen said. “They had a good crowd and their sounds attracted people to the stage to hear more. They got the full experience being shuttled in, having an air-conditioned green room with complimentary beverages and snacks and then being shuttled back out and being unceremoniously dumped in the parking lot with their gear.’’
Meanwhile, Hoot found out on July 3 that he was one of three musicians out of more than 200 from around the state to receive a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to UW-Madison, his father, Bob, said.
“We’re so glad they rearranged the Summerfest set to put the songs with horns in the second half of the show,’’ Bob Hoot said. “It was worth it.”
Autumn Underground is a jazz and funk influenced rock band. The band plays both original songs and covers from such artists as Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jimmy Hendrix, and The Zutons. They just wrapped up recording their first CD. It was available at Summerfest, and will be available when the band performs at the Good Neighbor Festival in late August.
Autumn Underground was invited to play at Summerfest by the Wisconsin School Music Association, said Stampen’s father, John. WMSA runs Launchpad, a statewide music competition for Wisconsin high school students. More than 70 bands participated in Launchpad, but only eight performed at Summerfest.
However, it wasn’t quite that simple.
Autumn Underground auditioned and was selected to play in a Launchpad regional competition in Eau Claire but had to withdraw from the competition due to MHS athletic team conflicts with two of its band members, John Stampen said.
However, Patton won a MAMA Youth Instrumentalist Award for his drum playing on the Autumn Underground original song “Butterfly Effect.” Some of the judges at the MAMA competition also judged the Launchpad event.
“They liked what they heard and decided that Autumn Underground was deserving of the opportunity to play at Summerfest with the other Launchpad state finalists,’’ John Stampen said.
The group was conceived on a trip to England where band members marched in the 2011 London New Year’s Day parade. The band is named after a transportation stop called Autumn Underground. Band members have played in several local bands including: Social Misfits, Axis, Disaster Tuesday, Nerds Plugged In and High Tide.
Many of the band members also play in Middleton’s 7 O’Clock Jazz Band and the influence of this experience on their original songs is apparent in their rhythms, harmonies, solos, and improvisation, John Stampen said.
The band’s first public performance came at the MHS Fine Arts Week in 2011. The band also played at Fine Arts Week this year. They played in the local Rocking the Hills event last year and plan to do so again in 2012. They also performed at the Middleton Baseball Softball Commission’s annual Pig Roast at the Middleton Sport Bowl in May.
The band is on hiatus, although several members are participating in state honor ensembles (choir, orchestra and jazz) as well as attending various music camps.
“These are talented and hard-working musicians,’’ said Deb Jordahl, Adam’s mother. “And they will be the first to tell you they couldn’t have gotten where they are without leadership from the Middleton High School Music Department and support from John and Pam Stampen.”