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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Listening to L.I.S.A.

There are the highlights of an amphitheater in acoustics and appearance, but then what KDVS’s Studio A lacks in lighting, it makes up for in an eclectic mix of live bands. Live in Studio A, also known as “L.I.S.A.,” is a weekly event in which bands showcase their music underneath Freeborn Hall. Every Thursday from 11 p.m. to midnight, a different band will air whatever stylistic conceit represents its music through KDVS’s radio station at channel 90.3 FM.

When tuning into 90.3 FM on a Thursday night, one can hear the album-quality sounds that emanate through the radio. The show gives bands an opportunity to carry a greater audience with their music. Small details give an effect of immediacy, allowing bands to step away from overproduction and return to the live experience. The energy and closeness of the ear to the music removes the barriers usually present in music in the forefront.

Behind the performances in Live in Studio A is Karen Carchidi, the booking coordinator. Her early days in the business were as cozy as Studio A is today.

“I used to make dinner for bands and crew and that is a great way for everyone to relax to get to know each other,” Carchidi said.

After her time in smaller radio station broadcasts, she moved to the wild sprawl of coordinating for the likes of Etta James and Janet Jackson. However, KDVS’s freeform radio has been her home going on for six years now.

The bands performing at L.I.S.A. come from a variety of different places, ranging from Prague, to Italy, to Mexico. Often the bands are local and homegrown, stretching from the Bay to Davis, representing that Northern California goodness.

A good number of UC Davis students tune into L.I.S.A., some even making the show something to look forward to week after week.

Alexa Pandika, a sophomore communication and psychology double major, occasionally tunes into “L.I.S.A.”

“I love the music they play, and I like that I’m able to hear about new bands and discover different types of music,” Pandika said.

To new listeners, often the bands playing live for KDVS may appear to be more obscure than others, but that doesn’t mean the quality isn’t there. KDVS aims to bring the amount of passion every band has for the love of music goes beyond common exposure.

“From my experience, musicians, no matter how famous, are people just like the rest of us and [are] often humble and appreciative,” Carchidi said. “Some are very unique, but that is usually just comical at best and frustrating at worst — but always interesting. Everyone has great stories to share.”

For technical and electrical aspects, behind the coordination waits a team making Live in Studio A happen. Fenris Wulf is the studio technician, engineering the show so that it captures the room’s full acoustics. One can find all of the performances on YouTube, courtesy of Lien Do, the team’s videographer. With the voice penetrating households and car interiors, commentary in between sets can be heard as well. Working in unison, the team strives to bring an audience much greater than just UC Davis to the live music from under Freeborn Hall.

On the coattails of the band selection also ride the personalities behind such diversity. Still, the experience of live music and being there in person fulfills and overlooks any other form of scrutiny.

“I love that bands get an opportunity to be heard,” said Megan Leibowitz, a sophomore biological sciences major. Leibowitz often tunes in on Thursday night after hearing about Live In Studio A from an upperclassman.

Live in Studio A happens every Thursday from 11 p.m. to midnight. Tune into 90.3 to listen to live bands perform their set with all their bouts of perfection and moments of imperfection.

PETER AN can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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