By Jack Godar ‘18, Editor-in-Chief
The Nate Chung Project finished their first gig of the year at the Ballot Box in Kelley Square with a high approval rating, playing a crowd-pleasing set of both originals and covers that kept the crowd engaged the whole night.
The Nate Chung Project is a folk-rock band led by singer-songwriter Nate Chung, a senior at Holy Cross. Over the course of his time at Holy Cross, Chung has established himself as one of Holy Cross’ most promising songwriters, plying his trade at various 10 Spots and, along with the rest of the Nate Chung Project (NCP), winning last year’s Battle of the Bands. Chung, lead guitarist Casey Dawson, bassist Sean Horan, and drummer Frank Dwyer have developed into a tight unit, and as a result, NCP have become a versatile band that deftly handles a wide array of songs.
All of this was evident at the Ballot Box, as they seamlessly switched between covers and Chung’s original songs, delivering tight locked-in performances. Between Chung’s deep and soulful voice and a bit of a 90s vibe to his songs, Chung’s original songs have a George Ezra-meets-Dave Matthews Band feel that slots nicely with contemporary folk-rock acts such as Ezra, James Bay, or Judah and the Lion, while still maintaining a unique sound. New single “Dreaming” was a standout, a mid-tempo love song complemented by some really nice lead guitar lines courtesy of Dawson, and the audience loved “Doesn’t Even Matter” so much that NCP played it a second time for their encore.
The covers showed off NCP’s versatility as a band, as they nailed a variety of songs, ranging from 2000s pop-rock classics, to folk, to country. Some standouts were the rhythm section of Dwyer and Horan locking into the groove of Milky Chance’s “Stolen Dance” and the crowd going absolutely nuts during “Chicken Fried.” The band’s most impressive moments were the covers of Coldplay’s “Yellow” and Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” two arena-sized pop-rock ballads. On both songs, the band sounded absolutely huge, filling the intimate space of the Ballot Box in a way that can only be described as epic.
It was an impressive first gig for the Nate Chung Project and it’s a sign of good things to come as they work towards releasing their first album sometime in the coming months. The band was able to show the mixture of singer-songwriter intimacy and full-band heft that makes them so unique, especially for a band on a small college campus like Holy Cross.
The Nate Chung Project’s next gig is 10 p.m. this Friday at Loft 266.