Animal Years performs for Allegheny students

Mike McFadden and Animal Years brought a flock of students to the Gator Quad for the band’s 6 p.m. performance on Friday, Sept. 1.

The band, based in Brooklyn, New York, came to Allegheny College as part of Student Leadership and Involvement’s Gator Activities Programming.

After the concert, the band sold souvenirs such as shirts, stickers and copies of their new album, The Sun Will Rise.

McFadden, the lead singer for Animal Years, said while most of the band’s pieces were original work, they did perform Adele’s Water Under the Bridge.

“I mean today like we played one cover, we like to throw in a fun cover, especially for a college crowd, that may not be familiar, we did an Adele song today,” McFadden said.

McFadden said he and a friend started Animal Years in 2013, when he moved to Brooklyn.

There’s no easy way to be in a band, and you really do have to sacrifice everything.

— Mike McFadden, Animal Years

“I had a couple friends that played music, a bass player being one of them, me and him kind of formed the band together,” McFadden said. “I had written a bunch of music, most of it’s on our album The Sun Will Rise and we just, we kind of just started from there.”

The band has most recently found success with its single Caroline.

“We’ve had about half a million plays on Spotify so far, and it’s been doing really well,” McFadden said.

Guitarist Alex Musso performed with Animal Years for the first time on Friday. He joined the band about a month before Friday’s performance.

“They had just got off the road, off tour, and they were looking for a guitar player, and a bass player of mine, who’s a mutual friend, put me in touch with them,” Musso said.

McFadden explained Animal Years had been looking for a fourth member for a while.

“We have three members in the band, and then we’ve had a rotating crew of guitar players that come through, we’re looking for a full-time member, though, and so we’re trying out Alex now,” McFadden said. “That was his first gig, but if he does well, you know, hopefully we’ll bring him on full-time.”

McFadden said while making a living performing in a band is exciting, it also requires a substantial amount of sacrifice.

“There’s a big difference between doing it as a hobby and doing it for a living,” McFadden said. “I mean, there’s no easy way to be in a band and you really do have to sacrifice everything, try your hardest, and there are a million people that are in bands right now that are trying, giving 100 percent to it, so if you go out and give 99 percent, you are never going to make it.”

Nick Cooper, ’21, was impressed by McFadden’s use of different guitars during the performance.

“I liked the energy they put out,” Cooper said. “The multiple guitars was really cool.”

Falena, Rotzell, ’18, special events coordinator with GAP, said they first learned about Animal Years through some agents who work with the college to secure guest performers.

“We kind of reviewed them and sampled them, and we thought that Animal Years was a good fit,” Rotzell said.

Sophia Stabley, ’19, also a special events coordinator with GAP, said that GAP’s next guest artist was a comedian hypnotist who is scheduled to perform on Oct. 21.

“We’re just trying to bring a lot of artists that will catch a lot of students’ attention and just keep them entertained,” Stabley said.