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Digging up the underground music scene

The Underground Music Society has emerged with plans to expand the genres and bands heard on campus.

“Pawed People” performed last year at one of the Underground Music Society’s acoustic shows at the free speech lawn.

Courtesy of Keliana Deneef

“Pawed People” performed last year at one of the Underground Music Society’s acoustic shows at the free speech lawn.

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Music lovers on campus rejoice! The Underground Music Society is officially a club on campus.

Founder and President of UMS Nathan Phung said he has always noticed the diverse music culture on campus, a culture where different tastes collide. He said he thought students should have a place to interact, so he decided to create an outlet for anyone interested in music in a variety of different ways.

Phung said that Cal State Long Beach’s version of the club is based on one with the same name at Cal State San Bernardino.

“People dress in the fashion of the music they love,” Phung said, commenting on the ska and punk patches that he recognized around campus. “ I brought the idea here with the mindset that people would want to bring local musicians and music fans together on campus.”

Phung said he feels that historically, Long Beach has been a hub for all different kinds of music. The Nugget Grill and Pub was home to the original members of Sublime, and Phung said he feels it’s time to bring this culture back.
This is the first semester that Associated Students Inc. has officially recognized UMS as a campus organization, which will allow the club to hold events for students.

“Last semester we had two acoustic shows, all of which included student bands Animalia, Pawed People, Ham and Turkey, Two Tone Boners and also my band Fraternity Ward,” William Torres, UMS band coordinator, said.

Torres said he is looking forward to hosting more shows this year, and he has two more planned for the semester aside from Thursday’s show at the Nugget.

Last year the group’s shows were held at the free speech lawn. However, now that UMS is officially a club, it will be allowed to hold events at the Nugget once a month.

Torres said he is excited that UMS will have additional meet-up events for solo musicians. These independent musicians will be able to unite and form bands that will eventually play at UMS shows, he said.

Torres said that there have also been talks about recording sessions for people who want to make music and possibly release it for free online. The club plans to cater to all music genres that may interest students.

“I would like to do a hip hop show, a really violent metal show, a punk show — I want to do anything at all,” said Daniel Speer, UMS vice president, who said that he doesn’t want to be an arbiter of tastes but rather wants to see small bands grow.

“ASI doesn’t have enough musicians involved directly,” Speer said. “ASI is an important organization on campus, but they throw Wednesday concerts at noon, which don’t really make sense to me from musician’s perspective. You get out of class, and at that point you aren’t interested in seeing a band. We are trying to shoot for the times when concerts are usually held, in addition supporting bands and not having just one act.”

According to UMS Treasurer Brad McMahon, the club is for anybody passionate about music, regardless of musicianship, and all they have to do is attend meetings to become a member.

McMahon said he feels that the club has the potential to attract bigger bands in the future, but for now, UMS is focused on the local music scene.

Their first event will be held at the Nugget on Thursday. Animalia, The Two Tone Boners, Struckout and The Moderates are expected to play.

The UMS meets every Thursday at the University Student Union courtyard outside Sbarro from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

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