The Daily Gamecock

Newly-formed student band hopes to leave lasting legacy during time at USC

<p>Lead vocalist Jack Brecher raises his drink to a crowd as the band prepares for its next song at Breaker’s Live in Five Points on March 26, 2023. The group has been performing live at venues since February 2023.&nbsp;</p>
Lead vocalist Jack Brecher raises his drink to a crowd as the band prepares for its next song at Breaker’s Live in Five Points on March 26, 2023. The group has been performing live at venues since February 2023. 

Starting out as a two-man band playing weeknights at local Columbia bars, The Alamo is now working to make its own mark in Columbia's live music scene.

The band began with second-year finance student Jack Brecher on vocals and first-year computer information systems student Trace McCament playing the guitar. 

As time progressed, the pair debuted as "The Alamo" at Tin Roof in the Vista on Feb. 16, with the addition of new members first-year business student and lead guitarist Raunaq Sarin, first-year music industry studies student and drummer Alexa Harwelik and first-year criminal justice student and bass player Jackson Hall. 

Brecher said their first gig gave them a taste of a crowd whose energy they could feed off of — something they never experienced in their hometown music scenes.

“We started playing at bars, but it was just for such an older crowd where it’s fun, but we were just background music,” Brecher said. “It’s a lot more fun in college because, when we played at Breakers, you had people throwing their bodies at us because they were having that much fun.”

At its various gigs, the band plays sub-genres of rock, such as classic, indie and southern.

Brecher said The Alamo has taken off quicker than any of the members ever expected, with the band adding three other people and playing four shows within its first six weeks of existence.

"The rate that we're going at right now has been just crazy," Brecher said.

The band's growth in popularity has allowed members to play at Columbia's local bars on Friday and Saturday nights instead of the less crowded weeknights they started out with, Brecher said.

To impress these crowds, Sarin has taken it upon himself to learn tricks to wow the crowd, such as playing his guitar behind his back. Sarin said he never expected himself to try the trick but gained the confidence to do so with encouragement from other members. 

While the band said performing for audiences is different from what they knew before college, they have gained an appreciation for this new, more energetic scene.

"It’s way more fun to perform for these kids who are really, really feeling the music and recording us and reaching their hands out to Ronnie while he’s soloing,” Harwelik said.

Although the band is relatively new, the members said they have been brought together through a shared passion for the art form.

“We just have a lot of chemistry. When we're on stage or wherever we are playing, we lock in," Harwelik said. "Even at practices and rehearsals and all that, but when we're on stage and we're just jamming on a song, we'll all look at each other. We'll feel the music." 

The band hopes to capitalize on audience support and plans to play at venues like Tin Roof and Jake’s on Devine throughout the spring semester and into the next school year. 

Over the summer, the members also plan on practicing their skills individually so they can come back strong in the fall with hopes of traveling to other college towns to play, as well as releasing an EP. During rehearsals, the group has already spent time making songs with impromptu progressions and riffs but hasn’t yet written lyrics and recorded them.

“I love seeing the audience when we play a really famous song, and it's always a good time, but it'd be awesome if we could start getting people singing along to our music because I feel like that'd be an epic feeling,” Sarin said.

As the band continues to work towards expanding its influence in Columbia and building relationships with audiences, venues and other bands, the members look ahead to the future with dreams of continuing to reach ears in Columbia that will remember them for years to come.

“All of us really like music just as much and care about trying to make this into something to where it's like — that's our legacy that we leave at South Carolina is we were the band that everyone had heard at least once playing everywhere and anywhere,” Brecher said.