Student bands have surged as COVID-19 dwindled, and the all-freshman rock band From The Bronx has quickly become a crowd favorite.
This academic year, the Binghamton music scene has been burgeoning with student bands. Maybe due to a cultural drought after being relegated to bedroom jam sessions for the past couple of years, the student band scene has recently exploded with vigor and creativity. For many, countless weekends have been spent at basement shows on the West Side, gigs at local bars and even shows at the Bundy Museum of History and Art.
From The Bronx consists of four lifelong musicians. Omar Acosta, a freshman majoring in philosophy, politics and law, is the lead vocalist and guitar player. Dahlia Bekong is an undeclared freshman and doubles as a vocalist and bassist. Emmanuel “Manny” Fuentes, an undeclared freshman, takes on guitar while Chris Dennison, a freshman majoring in business administration, plays drums for the band. From The Bronx formed during Mountainview Jams in Appalachian Collegiate Center early fall semester. In an email response, Dennison recounted how the band members met and From The Bronx’s inception.
“Chris, our drummer, had heard from his roommate about a music event going on, so he ran over from his dorm with a pair of drumsticks hoping to play for the first time in a while,” Dennison said. “Omar and Dahlia, who had first met in the dorms at Seneca Hall, were at the event ready to play a cover of ‘Valerie’ by Amy Winehouse. They had friends covering vocal and guitar — all they needed was a drummer.”
Dennison described his impromptu yet successful performance alongside Bekong and Acosta.
“When [Dahlia and Omar] ran into Chris, the group delivered a performance that ignited the audience, setting a precedent for the return of Mountainview Jams and the foundation for From The Bronx (named after the home of our bassist),” Dennison said. “Emmanuel, who was friends with Omar, would soon join the band at the 2022 Earth Day Festival.”
The members of From The Bronx were naturally drawn to the music scene at Binghamton University and Binghamton proper. Dennison said the desire to captivate and bring amusement to a crowd has motivated and inspired them.
“At the end of the day, we just want to continue to bring a good time to Binghamton,” Dennison said. “The satisfaction we get from bringing enjoyment to others is the best feeling in the world.”
From The Bronx is primarily a rock band, performing and exploring various subgenres of rock music. However, unlike many other BU student rock bands, From The Bronx emphasizes experimentation and often integrates musical elements from other genres as well.
“We like to experiment with programmed beats and incorporate genres that fall outside of ‘rock’,” Dennison said. “We like to pride ourselves with being flexible with genres.”
From The Bronx mainly performs and writes original pieces, such as “Lover’s Requiem,” “And I’ll Go” and “DCL,” to name a few. They also frequently perform covers of popular classics, including the ’70s hit “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor and the early 2000s alternative rock song “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes.
As freshmen, the members of From The Bronx are new to the Binghamton music scene in addition to the BU community as a whole. Despite their fresh status, the band has received a warm welcome and support from other student bands.
“The student band community has been very kind to us — bands that we’ve played with in the past have always shown their support of our music,” Dennison said. “The best part of belonging to the community is that we all share the same passion for music. People involved in the band community are very helpful, whether it be with sharing equipment or planning transportation to shows and events.”
With performances at the Earth Day Festival in Recreation Park on Binghamton’s West Side, house shows, Mountainview Jams and Battle of the Bands in the University Union Undergrounds, the members of From The Bronx have extensive experience performing alongside one another for crowds of BU students. When asked about their favorite memory together, the band described their first house show off campus.
“It was the first time we got to meet and play with a lot of the other top student bands such as Mote and The Plasters,” Dennison said. “The basement was packed and seeing everyone rock out to our music right in front of us was a wonderful experience.”
Comprised of Black and Hispanic band members, From The Bronx discussed the lack of diversity that typically plagues rock music and what their presence in the Binghamton music scene means for other aspiring artists and musicians.
“As a Black and Hispanic band, we love the fact that we add to the diversity of the Binghamton music scene,” Dennison said. “Minority representation in the rock music industry has traditionally been low, and so our music helps to take a step in the direction of changing that. We hope to inspire future generations of rock musicians to follow their passions, no matter what race they are.”
From The Bronx has left quite an impression on BU students and the local music scene from their short stint. For those interested, you can follow the band on Instagram, @fromthebronxband, where they frequently post their upcoming shows.
Follow From The Bronx on Instagram @fromthebronxband