Brendan’s basement brings Christmas cheer
One student's at-home concert brings interest to BHS.
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Walking into Brendan’s basement, one is overwhelmed with the scent of sweat and excitement. A dim green light floods the room, illuminating the posters of various bands scattered across the walls. Strangers and friends alike wait patiently, itching in their holiday sweaters, trying to bear the heat. Take your seats everyone, “Christmas in My Pants” is about to begin.
On Friday, December 23, bands gathered from all across Maine to play for the much-anticipated holiday concert, “Christmas in My Pants,” hosted by junior Brendan McBrine. At the door was a box to hold the expected $3.50 donation from each person. The collected $100 was donated to the Good Shepherd Food Bank.
The Century House, McBrine’s parent’s house, packed around 25 people in the basement for a night of music. McBrine’s parents have mixed opinions on their basement-turned-concert hall, but overall support their son’s musical
“My dad thinks it’s the best thing ever,” said McBrine. “He thinks it’s so cool that we’re having this many people come. My mom tolerates it – I don’t know if she loves it or hates it, I just know she wants it to be done by 10 p.m.”
McBrine began hosting shows in his basement back in November – November 21, to be exact – when he and a friend decided it was time for their debut.
“One day I was walking to my friend Jarred’s house [Stankiewicz], and I just randomly said, ‘Hey! We should do a show,’” said McBrine. “In six hours, we put on a show. Not that many people came, but we did one two days later that was way more successful.”
McBrine and Stankiewicz were the only performers at the first show, named “Century House Pilgrimage.” The next show followed on Friday, November 25, where the crowd went from “10-ish to 25-ish,” according to senior Matt Perkins. Perkins, McBrine, and Biddeford High School graduate of 2015, Ben Nason, all played in second show with their band “Hyosis,” which has existed since McBrine’s freshman year. However, McBrine played drums in three different sets due to lack of drummers.
However, before “Hyosis,” before the Century House, and before there was Brendan’s basement, there was the birth of “Christmas in My Pants.” To fully understand “Christmas in My Pants,” one must go back to the beginning: in 1986 at Berklee College of Music, where one student’s procrastination launched the future of “Christmas in My Pants.”
“My dad went to the Berklee College of Music for like, two years,” said McBrine. “He had this assignment where he had to make an album. You know, college, he put it off until last minute. He got together with his friend, and they said they were going to make a Christmas album called ‘Christmas in My Pants.’ It was hardcore versions of Christmas songs.”
Much like his dad’s album, every performer at “Christmas in My Pants” was required to sing a Christmas Carol.
“We had the idea to do a Christmas show, and we were like, ‘We have to call it this,’” said McBrine. “‘We have to call it ‘Christmas in My Pants.’ It has nothing to do with the show, I guess, but when you hear that, you’re going to remember, ‘Christmas in My Pants.’”
The set list included the following bands: “Vernon Hell,” “Chester Sidewalks,” “The Doug Quaids,” “Coyote April,” “Million Dollar Lounge,” and “Hyosis.” McBrine describes the genre of music as being “indie noise rock,” if there had to be a way to categorize them. The mood of the music, and the show itself, ranged from soft rock to a more hardcore-metal style that could only be suited by moshpitting. However, a waiver form was mandatory to sign in order to make sure that, in the case that the moshpit becomes dangerous, no one is responsible.
“If you have never, or have limited experience in a mosh pit, read this before the show,” Perkins posted on the Facebook page, followed by a link to the ‘10 Rules of Mosh-Pit Etiquette.’ “Moshing is in no way mandatory – it might not even happen – but in the event it does, know what to do.”
Junior James McFadyen claims his favorite band was “Million Dollar Lounge.” McFadyen helped set up for “Christmas in My Pants” after attending the second show, where nothing would stop him from making it to Century House.
“I actually ran from work to Century House in the rain, without my trumpet,” said McFadyen.
“I helped prepare a bit. I expected something like this, you know, it’s met my expectations. Of course, I wouldn’t say I was disappointed. ‘Million Dollar Lounge’ is probably the greatest band in Maine.”
Sophomore Addison Moore also attended “Christmas in My Pants,” and says she would return for her love of the “laid back atmosphere.”
“It’s really laid back, and everyone accepts each other,” said Moore. “You can do whatever you want. I like the atmosphere. It’s really fun to be here.”
With the basement no bigger than an average classroom, this small space brought many attendees closer – literally. With the “stage” no further away than 10 feet, the crowd was able to connect with the bands in a way that felt unique. A guitar leaned against the wall, sheltered by a “Beatles” poster, and the ground littered with Christmas lights to truly bring the Christmas spirit. An array of cookies and other snacks tied the concert atmosphere with a homelike sense that made Brendan’s basement so intriguingly inviting.
“I’ve always wanted to do shows like this,” said McBrine. “It’s always been a thing I’ve wanted to do since I was like, 13. I just didn’t know people were interested enough – I never had a band really that was reliable enough to do it. Basement shows are, for me, the way to go. It’s just so intimate and everybody’s right there.”
As for the future of the Century House, another show is expected for Valentine’s Day, but no – this will not be called “Valentine’s Day in My Pants.”
“We’re doing one for Valentine’s Day, ‘Love Train,’” said McBrine. “I was in a band called ‘Blue Mist’ in middle school, and Chad and I, the guitarist, made a joke album one day called ‘Love Train,’ which was just a bunch of parody songs. We had the idea to do a Valentine’s Day show, and it just had to be called ‘Love Train,’ obviously.”
To see videos from each bands set, follow these links:
“Vernon Hell”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HssLOlC4Sf0&feature=youtu.be
“Chester Sidewalks”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HssLOlC4Sf0&feature=youtu.be
“Coyote April”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37L0Wx_-N2w&feature=youtu.be
“The Doug Quaids”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtVCyWnaaFg&feature=youtu.be
“Million Dollar Lounge”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMc-97K9cPM&feature=youtu.be