Street Pennies, a blues cover band, will perform at 10 p.m. on Feb. 16 at The Bluebird. After forming in October 2021, this will be their third time playing at the local venue.
Each of the nine members originated from the Bloomington Delta Music Club. After they all performed a blues rock gig together, Ollie Grcich, junior vocalist and current BDMC co-president, and Mason Bose, senior guitarist, decided they wanted to form the band.
“We all had our very separate music experience, but what brought us together was BDMC and specifically the blues itself,” Grcich said.
She said her favorite part of performing is connecting with other people and sharing experiences with the band. She feels lucky and humbled to perform at The Bluebird, and playing blues music is her outlet for emotional releases, she said.
Bose started playing guitar when he was 8 years old. He said he enjoys playing songs written or inspired by the people he has always looked up to like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Lucas Hallal, freshman vocalist, and Grcich have been playing blues together since they were in middle school. They were in an educational band called The Blues Project.
Because a few of the members are graduating this semester, Hallal said they are enjoying it while they can and building not only the band, but their personal friendships.
Arthur Guirlet, drummer and exchange student from Paris between his junior and senior year, said he is trying to appreciate the time he has with the band since he’ll be leaving IU in 3 months.
He said he feels it in his body and soul when the crowd is reacting to their music. Guirlet said sharing something is what music is about and it feels right to him.
“We’re having a lot of fun and we’re going to have some more,” Guirlet said.
Grcich said Johnathan Hasey, senior guitarist, brings a sense of peace to the band through his constant steady temperament.
Hasey was the creator behind the name of Street Pennies. From the words on a white board, he saw coins and thought of the luck and fortune brought by picking a penny up off the street.
Michael Carter, keyboard player, said playing in the band feels fulfilling after cancellations due to COVID-19 during his high school theater career.
Carter comes from an R&B background and brings a fresh perspective to the band. He is a critical addition to the band, Bose said.
Jack Wanninger, sophomore bass player, said the band has created their own musical language and he’s comfortable improvising with them.
Bloomington’s music scene is organic, Wanninger said. He said he feels like the musicians are tuned into the same wavelength. The music scene has cultural significance in Bloomington and he is humbled to be a part of it, he said.
"You go inside The Bluebird and it hits you,” Wanninger said. “They have all of these posters on the walls of all of these musicians who have performed there before and it feels like a larger-than-life place.”
Ryan Cook, senior saxophone player, said his favorite thing about performing is being able to share the vibe and friendship of the group with their audiences through their music.
Abe Plaut, senior trumpet and tambourine player, said Cook is the hype man, always leading the pre-show huddle and grounding the band members minutes before their performances.
Although the professional equipment and staff at certain venues may provide a better experience, Plaut said house shows and other smaller venues are equally important. He said since some people are unable to attend shows at bars, house shows give them the opportunity to experience live music.
“To play the blues, to sing the blues is an acknowledgement of hardship without losing optimism for a better tomorrow,” Plaut said.