Photo: Lauren Horsch
Last Friday night at 8 p.m., musician Preston Pugmire filled Olmsted Center with the sounds of an entire back-up band using looping technology. Pugmire records guitar, bass and vocal beats live and can make a new song from scratch on stage.
His live performance is similar to the Rocket Summer, with his abundance of instruments and strong stage presence. Pugmire played many original songs but also a few covers like Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River.” The crowd was clapping along to Jackson 5 and accompanied Pugmire with the Oh-Oh’s in “Cry Me a River.”
It was evident how much Pugmire used the crowd’s interaction to create a more memorable experience.
“I thought it was amazing,” junior Aubrey Lambach said. “He made small bits sound like a whole song, and I liked how he got the whole audience involved.”
Pugmire made great use of the audience while performing “Soundtrack,” and beforehand he explained the premise behind the song, which is about his wife. Pugmire found a spot on the lap of a boy in the crowd, then danced with another concertgoer, then danced on multiple tabletops and finally planted a kiss on his wife who was in the middle of the audience.
He took lots of time between his songs to talk to the audience and he kept them engaged. He told many jokes that kept the audience laughing.
“It’s my first time here,” Pugmire said. “I like Des Moines, it’s great. I’m not even joking.”
Using not only the acoustic guitar, floor petal and microphone, Pugmire used many other objects to help his songs come to life.
In the song “You Felt Different,” Pugmire slid his hand through a deck of cards. He also shouted through a megaphone during his last song, “Helen.”
Another interesting object Pugmire used to captures attention is his oscilloscope. He has the oscilloscope hooked up to his microphone and it looks like an old television. When Pugmire sings into his microphone the disrupted signal shows up on the screen, looking like static.
“My friend Ben built it for me,” Pugmire said. “The oscilloscope adds a visual aspect and good audience interaction to my show.”
Throughout the show people showed up, providing a larger audience for Pugmire.
“I wished we would have gotten here earlier, but what we saw was really good,” sophomore Drew Kaufman said. “I really enjoyed the last song– Helen.”
Pugmire was the top booked event at the National Association of Campus Activities this year. Student Activities Board Bands Chair Carly Kinzler was happy with Pugmire’s performance.
“I feel really good about the performance,” Kinzler said. “He interacted well with the crowd. We are trying a coffeehouse series this semester and we are getting diverse acts this year.”
The SAB has many more shows planned for this semester. The next concert will feature The Olympics on Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. on Pomerantz Stage. Other shows include Matt Corey on Sept. 15 and Hana Pestle on Nov. 18.