What happened to Spring? This was the question I asked myself this past week as I sat in the sweltering heat that consumed the Fun House on East 4th Street in South Bethlehem. However, I was hardly bothered, as I had a frothy pitcher of beer and a fantastic seat to watch the Urban Achievers put on their latest show at Fun House. After listening to a couple songs, I realized that the heat source was not coming from the outside elements; it was coming from the band because its music lit the venue on fire!
Who is the band?
While perusing through Fun House’s monthly lineup, the “Urban Achievers” listing caught my eye, so I decided to do a bit of research. Their Facebook page provided hardly any actual information aside from the band being composed of four guys. Instead, it was rather mysterious and humorous. They list influences as “everybody” and artists they like as “nobody.” They are self-described as being signed to every record label and do not associate with a particular genre, but rather “do some jams.” While some people might find the lack of information frustrating, I found it to be quite intriguing; I now wanted to take the opportunity to discover what this band of mystery men was all about.
It did not take too long for me to figure out what the Urban Achievers were all about. The quartet consists of a guitar, a bass, a double-decker keyboard, and a drum kit. To clarify “do some jams,” most songs were southern rock, classic rock, or country-like in nature, so their genre could softly be called rock. What made these guys more unique than most other rock bands, however, was the utilization of the multi-layered keyboard. The bottom keyboard was consistently used as a classic piano, which added a great harmony to most songs. The top keyboard, however, was a beautiful synthesizer that was built for solos. It was comparable to a guitar, as it was played with a soundboard that had the same functionality as foot pedals. Manipulation of synthesizers can often be very overbearing and take away from the song, but not so with the Urban Achievers. They brought a cosmic sound to classic songs that was not distracting and actually very intriguing. It was almost disappointing when they played a song that did not use the synthesizer.
Another unique aspect of the Urban Achievers was their usage of solos for every instrument. Now, I do not find guitar and keyboard solos to ever get old, but their implementation of bass and drum solos certainly spiced things up a bit. In addition to employing a variety of instrumental solos, the band also changed up the tempo more often than expected. They would mix in a slower, more mellow song every once in a while because the audience had to take a break from dancing at some point.
Overall, I really enjoyed watching the Urban Achievers at Fun House. They lit the place up with their unique sound and their ability to get the crowd on its feet. The keyboard was incredible, and paired with everything else, it was smooth and fun to listen to. They typically perform at Fun House the first Wednesday of every month, so look for their show in June once Fun House releases its June lineup.
To “learn” more about the Urban Achievers, check out their Facebook page.
To see the Fun House lineup for the rest of May, check out their website.