Trevor Sensor and Halfloves unexpectedly rocked the M-Shop

Iowa singer/songwriter Trevor Sensor performs to a receptive crowd at the M-Shop Saturday night.

Gabby Lucas

Performing for a small and dispersed crowd didn’t stop Halfloves and Trevor Sensor from giving it all they had Saturday night at the Maintenance Shop (M-Shop). 

Upbeat, loud and heavy-handed with the harmonies, Halfloves was ready to pounce from the second they started playing.

Halfloves’ ambiguous live sound was a funky epicenter between rock and pop with a certain element of spaciness that made the show not quite down-to-earth but rather just beginning to float away.

The mellow parts of their set were still powerful while the heavier sections were still gentle, and frontman Jeff Roalson’s sharp, strong vocals and charming confidence cut right through the middle. Similar to that of Tame Impala or the Strokes, Halfloves’ truly unique indie sound took the audience by surprise.

Halfloves took some of the strangest sounds imaginable and layered them on top of each other to create something intricate and delicious.

Michael Laskey, freshman in electrical engineering, particularly appreciated this about the band.

“I’ve listened to a lot of the little stuff, and there’s a lot of layers,” Laskey said. “It’s fun to listen to.”

Lucas Baker, freshman in industrial engineering, was astonished by Halfloves’ colossal sound.

“I liked their distortion, it melted my face.” Baker said. “I think they’re one of the better bands that’ve come out of Iowa in a long time.”

With a mighty band backing him up, Trevor Sensor was, in the best way possible, more than the M-Shop had bargained for.

“From listening to his albums and stuff, I wasn’t expecting him to be this high energy,” Jeff Mettler, graduate student in kinesiology, said. “It was a lot more fun. I was expecting it to be a little bit more chill and laid-back.”

Uncharacteristic to the acoustic ballads of his studio recordings, Sensor and his band had the audience dancing from the very start. Falling in line with the styles of bands like Mumford and Sons, The Decemberists and Flogging Molly, Sensor’s band brought an unexpected punch to his signature sound and gave his genre a complete makeover. 

While it wasn’t what they were expecting, the audience were given something they could easily head bang to.

Dana Caslavka, freshman in psychology, said she enjoyed Sensor’s energy and stage presence.

“The music was really upbeat and fun,” Caslavka said. “It was really easy to dance to; my friend and I had a really good time dancing to it. Overall, he was a great performer.”

Sensor’s smoky roar of a voice and monumental stage presence added a layer of mystery and passion to the show, as he completely and entirely delved into the music. There were moments where he even knocked equipment over from rocking out so hard.

“He was a little crazy, which made him kind of unpredictable,” audience member Lois Harris said. “I liked that about him.”

Sensor packed the element of surprise into his rousing folk-rock show, venturing off-stage and into the audience to play his last song. 

He performed with a beer in hand that seemed so fitting he may as well have been born holding one.