Band transforms pop songs into dance tunes

Bass player Aron Linker jams out during rehearsal. Photo credit: Megan Moran

Bass player Aron Linker jams out during rehearsal. Photo credit: Megan Moran

Matthew Manfredi

Under the high ceilings of Room 132 of the Performing Arts Center, instruments emerge, amps are turned up and vocal harmonies begin to echo in the rehearsal space.

No, this isn’t your typical cover band. This is Hashtag YEAH.

With a set list featuring music from the Bee Gees, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Miles Davis, Queen and Chumbawamba, the seven-piece musical collective works together in revamping hit songs into dance-disco tunes.

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Hashtag YEAH’s drummer Ryan Johnson rocking out during band practice. Photo credit: Megan Moran

“Funk, pop, jazz, hip-hop, rock, Motown — we do almost every genre except country,” said Ryan Johnson, Hashtag YEAH drummer.

In addition to the rock ‘n’ roll foundation of guitar, bass and drums, this eclectic mixture of genres is blended together in an epic way with tenor saxophone solos of Donavan Campbell, keyboard melodies from Webster Moore and the dueling vocal harmonies of Jeanette Adame and Sarah West.

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Hashtag YEAH’s guitarist and band leader, Morgan Wenter, leads the group during practice. Photo credit: Megan Moran

“Honestly, it’s little hodgepodge of just about everything,” West said.

Bandleader and guitarist Morgan Wenter began to put the group together in the beginning of 2014. He sought out members around campus and the community that he knew would be a good fit for the sound he was looking for.

And much like the diversity in sound, band members from both Chico State and Butte College include majors from computer science, history, music industry and music education.

“I wanted to quit my job and start a pop band,” Wenter said.

This made his band mates laugh.

“Wait. Are you serious?” Adame said.

“Yes,” Wenter said.

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Hashtag YEAH’s lead vocalist, Jeanette Adame, sings a cover of “1901” by Phoenix. Photo credit: Megan Moran

It was in the halls of the PAC when Wenter approached Adame after class with the musical proposition that would lead to the inception of the band.

“Morgan brings people together,” Adame said. “He came up to me after choir and asked me if I wanted to be in a band.”

Now, over two years later and after a few member changes, Hashtag YEAH continues to bring non-stop fun and an upbeat time to each venue they play.

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The seven band members pose with their instruments during rehearsal. Photo credit: Megan Moran

Last week, being the third time performing at the DownLo in an effort to support putting Chico’s music scene in the Guinness World Record books, the band turned a quiet Thursday night into a dance party with people both young and old shaking hips and cutting a groove.

“I love the music scene here,” West said. “Everybody is good about supporting each other.”

Be sure to check out their Facebook page for events and other information.

Matthew Manfredi can be reached at [email protected] or @matthewmanfredi on Twitter.