Lydia’s Lounge became the venue this weekend for one of the most sincere and incredible performances this campus has ever seen.
Ace Enders, former lead singer of The Early November, played a free show for students last Saturday night, and delivered a performance no one in the crowd will soon forget.
Assistant Director of Student Activities Dain Gotto said he thought Enders put on a great performance.
“He was really able to connect with the audience,” Gotto said. “There were a lot of people who knew of his music. We’re always excited to see that.”
Activities Council of Bradley University Music Live coordinator Natalee Runyan said this is the last show of the year, so ACBU hoped for a good turnout.
“Music Live is a small concert series, but we still try to get artists that are recognizable to the student body,” she said. “Ace has a solid following from his previous band and is just starting to break out with his solo work. We thought he would be a perfect fit.”
Though the turnout for Enders filled only half the room, the small crowd was energetic even so.
“Where do you guys want to take this?” Enders asked the crowd. “Party?” The group collectively cheered. “Okay, party,” Enders agreed.
With his encouragement, the group participated by singing, snapping along and calling out requests, most of which were honored by Enders.
Before the show Saturday night, I had the opportunity to talk with Ace. Chatting in person with a musician who’s been playing in my headphones since seventh grade was pretty incredible. He is a really nice guy, and very soft-spoken.
As I sat down with Ace, he took out his guitar and began to play quietly. “Sorry, I gotta warm up my fingers,” he said. “I have Lyme disease and it makes my fingers kind of lock up and twitch a little. It’s frustrating, you know?”
I assured him it was no problem at all, and we continued our conversation.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
ACE: Pearl Jam. Definitely made me want to be a writer. I borrowed a friend’s DVD of the making of one of their records, and it moved me.
Who are your biggest influences outside of the music world?
ACE: A bit of everything. Definitely the biggest inspiration for me is where the world is right now. It’s like everyone is searching for something. And … “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” My wife recorded one whole season of it. I walked in and sat down, and was like, “This is so awful.” But I watch it.
If you could see anyone play live right now, who would it be?
ACE: Phoenix. I haven’t seen them yet. I hear they’re great live.
What do you plan on playing tonight?
ACE: I like to see where the night goes. I let it ride, you know? Depending on what the crowd wants. I try to do something off every record I’ve done. There are the standards, like “Ever So Sweet.” I think I’m stuck playing that one forever.
What do you want people to take away from the show?
ACE: A little bit of sincerity. The music business right now … is pretty much a big pile of doggie doo-doo. Not into gimmicks or shticks. I’m not the best, but I have a little bit of heart. And also, stay in school, don’t do drugs, that kind of stuff. (laughs)
How did you get started in music?
ACE: I started playing guitar when I was 14, but I didn’t sing until I was in high school. It was at my first talent show. We covered “Interstate Love Song” by the Stone Temple Pilots. I really made myself sound like him somehow…
If you were to choose one defining album that changed your life, what would it be?
ACE: Pearl Jam. “Yield,” definitely. It doesn’t sound like normal Pearl Jam. I like it.
What are some interesting facts about you?
ACE: Hmm … well, I have OCD in a really wacky way. I have to do everything in odd numbers. Everything is in 11, 13, 9 or 5. I guess that’s kind of quirky. Sometimes I catch myself doing it and I can stop, but it’s just become habit.
Also, I don’t curse. If I do, I feel like I’m gonna black out. I get nauseous. In my head, I’m like a sailor, but once it comes out I’m like, “blechhh.”