Emily Brustoski | Video Editor
It’s only 9 p.m. but the two-man band 3:30, comprised of Alex Erisey and Alex McPherson, is already taking the stage. Crushed beer cans and an old Starbucks cup litter the floor around the stage — a raised wooden platform in the basement of a house called Secret Garden. On it, Erisey sits behind a sleek black drum set, while McPherson sets up his guitar and takes his place at the microphone.
Thirty minutes of pop punk tunes follow, featuring both covers and original songs, most of which McPherson wrote. Erisey plays the drums so quickly his drumsticks blur, while McPherson engages with the crowd between numbers, laughing as he introduces them as “Alex, and that’s also Alex.”
The Alex’s have an easy rapport with one another, on-stage and off. Though their band is only five months old, the pair has been playing music together for years in their hometown of Akron, OH. The band name itself is an homage to their roots—330 is Akron’s main area code.
“As we were thinking, we were like, ‘Well, what’s something we have in common?’ Akron. So we went with 3:30,” Erisey said.
3:30 first performed at a fraternity charity event in October at Ohio Wesleyan University, where McPherson is a junior. Erisey, a junior at Miami, wanted to bring their talents to Oxford and booked their first house show this past weekend with the help of some friends.
“I’ve been itching to do one of these for a while, but didn’t know how to do it,” Erisey said. “It kind of came out of nowhere, but we’re trying to do a lot more now. It just feels so good to be up there playing.”
Though they only had four opportunities to practice together in person between October and their house performance, both Erisey and McPherson believe their set was a success.
Erisey has been playing drums for most of his life, and though McPherson is the lead guitarist in 3:30, he admits that Erisey plays the instrument better, as McPherson grew up playing the trumpet and only recently learned guitar. However, as a music education major, McPherson relishes any opportunity to get up on stage and perform music that he loves.
“It’s just more opportunities to perform. I don’t deal with stage fright too much at this point, but it’s still a thing and the more you perform, the less you’re going to deal with stage fright,” McPherson said. “Plus, it’s nice to be able to perform music that wasn’t written by some white dude 300 years ago.”
Michael DePiero, a longtime friend of both McPherson and Erisey, believes the duo’s passion for music and performing comes through in every one of their performances.
“I’ve known these guys since 6th grade, and when I see them play, I know that there’s nothing that makes them happier,” DePiero said. “They are just purely in love on that stage.”
McPherson says the band takes much of their musical inspiration from his and Erisey’s favorite artists: The Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball and Microwave. For their original songs, McPherson writes lyrics based on personal experiences.
“The word stuff is basically just me being emo about not being in a relationship,” McPherson said.
The future is still not entirely set for 3:30, but Erisey knows he wants to perform as much as he can before he graduates next year. He plans to book more house shows in Oxford, particularly during the fall semester, and has made tentative plans to perform more at Ohio Wesleyan, as well as Akron over the summer when he and McPherson are home.
“We’re both about to graduate soonish, and who knows what happens then, so I just want to play as much as we can while we have the opportunity,” Erisey said. “Better late than never.”
In the meantime, the duo uses their band as a way to continue their longtime friendship, even when they’re arguing over whether to include the colon in “3:30.”
“We bicker all the time,” Erisey said.
“But it’s out of love. At least, like, maybe,” McPherson added.