It’s around 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday night. The sidewalks of Uptown Oxford are bustling as Miami University students kick off their weekend festivities. Many filter into Brick Street, others to New Bar.
And still others make their way to the small alley near Uptown park. They pass the public splash pad and Chase Bank before entering a small side door. The students are filling The Oxford Pub (O’Pub), ready to see the band taking over Oxford’s music scene – Under High Street.
The band members come on stage and spend a few minutes tuning instruments. They warm up with a mish-mash of guitar and drum sounds, before going into their prepared set. The band plays freely while students mingle in the bar.
Under High Street is composed of Miami students Jonah Simpson, Dylan Brackis and Evan Flagel, plus alumnus Beau Hartrum.
Simpson, one of the band’s guitarists, and Flagel, the drummer, met in their fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi). The two talked music and had a couple jam sessions together before starting to play in public settings.
Brackis, also a member of AEPi, was then brought on as bassist. Hartrum, who knew Simpson from their first year, joined as the second guitarist.
On Sept. 21, Under High Street reached a milestone. The day marked one year since the band’s first performance at Bar 1868.
Flagel said they got the gig through a fraternity brother who worked there after he saw them play at a bonfire at the AEPi house.
“[He] was telling us that his manager really wanted to have live music there,” Flagel said. “So he got us in contact with her and that’s how we got a setup for our first show.”
Since then, Under High Street has played in multiple settings, including house parties, battle of the bands competitions and a weekly show at The Oxford Pub.
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Simpson said the band has become more cohesive in the past year.
“Music is kind of like sports,” Simpson said. “You build chemistry. The more you play with someone, the tighter you get and the better everything starts to sound.”
The band has also developed some original songs and are in the process of recording and putting out an Extended Play record (EP). The EP is still in the works, but they are hoping to have it out this semester.
They have started to play originals at their shows in addition to covers.
Brackis said he has the most fun playing their originals because it feels good when people like something the band made.
“I know [playing originals] might not get the best reaction, but when you do get a good reaction, it feels amazing,” Brackis said.
The band also plans to put out a full album, which will most likely include some songs from the EP. They are hoping to have the full album out by the end of the year.
Simpson and Flagel are seniors this year, so the future plans for Under High Street are unclear post-graduation. Hartrum said leaving Oxford makes performing together difficult, but they will continue to play together if possible.
“We enjoy playing together,” Hartrum said, “And if we can, we will.”