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Monday, May 20, 2024

From bedroom to center stage: The local indie band 'Honorable Mentions' breaks into the Gainesville music scene

The band is set to perform a showcase of their original set list next month

<p>The Honorable Mentions perform on the High Dive stage in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday, July 7, 2023. </p>

The Honorable Mentions perform on the High Dive stage in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday, July 7, 2023.

Guitar-lined walls surrounded Gavan Duffy’s cozy bedroom that birthed a band. Jack Glickstein, whose knowledge was limited to the ukulele, had a great deal to glean from his roommate’s wide skill set. 

Both UF students grew up with an instrument in hand and a dream to make a future.

Their casual jam sessions transformed into something greater when they began recording their music around early February. 

Originally named “Sixth Place” as an ode to the street they lived on, Glickstein, a 22-year-old UF English senior, wrote the song lyrics, while Duffy, a 23-year-old civil engineering alumnus, produced the tracks. 

The name did not stick for long, as they changed it to “Honorable Mentions” less than a few weeks later. The modification highlights the essence of the emerging band.

“We are not at the top spot, but we’re an honorable mention; we’re the up-and-comers,” Glickstein said.

After establishing their new brand, the two of them produced their first track, “429” on March 21, which paid homage to an old friend’s apartment number. They released their second track, “the neck of my guitar,” over a week later.

Glickstein and Duffy channeled their strong desire to create and share music by forming a band with the intention of performing live. They recruited their other roommate, Trent Nass, a keyboardist and UF alumnus, and Manny Uribe, a drummer and 20-year-old UF advertising senior, who Duffy knew through his fraternity.

The band did not release any other music until 19-year-old bassist and later keyboardist Max Goldman came into the picture. 

Goldman, who had known Glickstein since freshman year, saw Glickstein posting music and suggested jamming together. His desire to make a musical mark fit right in with the rest of the band.

The initial day the five played as a group, they created their song “camera roll,” which would be a testament to the band’s future success together. The track was released April 19. 

“There's a very bittersweet element to our music,” Glickstein said.

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The upbeat melodies contrast with the sappier lyrics about love and heartbreak. They take pride in their authentic, original music.

“We're just a couple of young 20-year-old, 21, 22-year-old dudes who are kind of figuring out not just their life, but their love life,” Uribe said.

The band quickly grew close. They were constantly collaborating and bouncing ideas off each other, whether it be while relaxing in their apartment or sending voice recordings to each other when apart.

“It kind of took off immediately,” Glickstein said. “We all really liked each other. And we just had a blast making music together.” 

Honorable Mentions hosted a house show in their apartment with an audience of friends on April 30 after the release of “camera roll.” The dining room performance reflected both the budding band’s humble roots and hope for a bright future.

This show would mark a turning point for the band’s trajectory. Their aspiration to play live came to fruition when one of the band’s friends who attended the house show reached out to the High Dive and landed them their first gig.

“Conquering the regional band scene was like a video game, that [playing at High Dive] was almost like the final boss for us,” Glickstein said.

Honorable Mentions played alongside local band Sigs Inside at High Dive May 18. Playing live for a crowd of both familiar and unfamiliar faces allowed them to come out of their shells and tap into their stage presence at the Gainesville treasure. 

“It was one of the most exciting adrenaline rushes of our life, and we weren't expecting how much we would enjoy it. And then we were like,‘Ooh my god, we’ve got to perform all the time,’” Glickstein said.

This sentiment was mirrored by the rest of the band. Not only did they feel the energy within, but they saw it in the crowd’s experience too.

“It's more of an interesting experience to go out and see your fellow students creating music,” Duffy said.

Experiencing the music with their audience is one of the band’s favorite aspects of performing.

“It's more fun to be able to interact with the crowd and interact with my band members, and put on something that people enjoy with other people, not just listening to our music on their own,” Glickstein said.

Goldman and Duffy visited Glickstein in his South Florida home and spent many hours creating music over the summer. They wrote and released their newest song, “red sky,” on June 21.

The success of their performance at High Dive paved the way for many more. They were set to play another gig about two months later on July 7. But because Goldman was out of town, the band reached out to 19-year-old Jack Vitchock to fill in on bass. He originally did technical work for the band.

Vitchock’s role became permanent when Duffy and Nass graduated. He was needed to fill in the lead guitarist role.

“Something you see a lot in the local music scene here is that bands have a finite lifetime in college,” Duffy said.

Goldman, who played bass in the original show, would play the keyboard instead of Nass, which he felt comfortable with considering he had been playing since the age of 6.

The band underwent another major change with the addition of 19-year-old bassist Aryeh Bloom. 

Honorable Mentions hopes to reach out to the Gainesville audience more and play on “the biggest stage we could find,” Goldman said.

For now, the band is having fun and working on their social media accounts in hopes of going viral.

“Our future is really, really bright,” Uribe said. “We're gonna keep on playing throughout the rest of the year and see what happens.”

Honorable Mentions will be playing all original songs at their next live show alongside the band Sigs Inside at High Dive on Sept. 1.

Contact Molly Seghi at Follow her on Twitter @molly_seghi.

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Molly Seghi

Molly Seghi is a first-year journalism major at UF and a Fall 2023 Avenue Reporter. When not writing or journaling, she can be found at a live music event or working on her podcast “An Aural Account.”

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