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Gentlemen Hall is a (college) class act

for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

On paper at Boston's Berklee College of Music, the members of Gentlemen Hall seemed highly unlikely to wind up in a band together.

Singer-guitarist Gavin Merlot, for instance, was in the music business tract. Flutist Seth Hachen was studying classical music, while keyboardist Bradford Alderman was in the jazz clique and Cobi Mike, the group's other singer-guitarist, was playing blues.

"We didn't really have any musical sort of common ground," Cleveland native Merlot, 28, acknowledges. "I never envisioned us ever being in a group together. But we'd been friends all through college and the groups we were in sort of dissipated, so we started jamming together with no intention of being a group.

"Then we started playing frequently and doing a lot of house parties and got a real reaction from people. So we thought, 'Maybe we should move into venues' and we did it we started selling out those shows, so we put a name on the group and went from there."

The brand of synth pop heard on Gentlemen Hall's debut EP, meanwhile, came from the scene the sextet found when it started playing out in those clubs.

"We were definitely inspired by a lot of the groups around us, like Passion Pit and Apollo Sunshine and this sort of indie pop scene that was sort of bubbling up in Boston," Merlot says. "We all became obsessed with vintage synthesizers around the same time. I don't know how that came about, but we used our little band fund to buy these old 80s synthesizers that were just a blast to geek out to, and we found the sound sort of coming out of that.

"People liked it, and so did we. And we still do, really."

Gentlemen Hall and Megyn Hermez perform Friday, April 13 at the Pike Room in the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5.

Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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