Student band West 22nd chases musical dreams, gains popularity

Logan Dubel, Senior Life&Arts Reporter

When Logan Madsen, Gabe Acevedo and Jeremy Ancheta wanted to make their musical trio a full-fledged band last year, they said they went about their search the old-school way: posting flyers on telephone poles around West Campus. 

Now fresh off a string of performances, West 22nd continues cultivating a unique sound and expanding their fanbase. After making the rounds across fraternities and philanthropic events last semester, the folk and indie rock group sports a setlist of covers from The Backseat Lovers to Fleetwood Mac, plus some original songs. The group said their success fulfills a lifelong dream. 

“It’s always been a dream of ours to do something different, and it’s been fulfilling to express ourselves through writing and live performances,” said Acevedo, a business honors and radio-television-film sophomore and the band’s rhythm guitarist. “But it also has been fulfilling to provide something to other people here in Austin, in this community we call home.”  

The melodies began last year when Acevedo’s guitar talents caught the eye of fellow guitarist Ancheta at an open mic night by the 26th Street food trucks. Ancheta, who also connected with singer Madsen, said he reached out to Acevedo after realizing they all lived in The Callaway House. The trio quickly went from buddies to bandmates, naming the group after the street where they lived and discovered their musical chemistry. 

“We started jamming in Callaway, and one thing led to another,” said Madsen, a finance sophomore and the band’s lead singer. “We thought we should get a full band together and see how we sound.”

After the trio’s flyers piqued the interest of potential members, they invited bassist Nakul Nagaraj and drummer Doug Blatt to join the band permanently. 

Following their West Campus debut performance at the Kappa Alpha fraternity, the bandmates recorded original songs, which Acevedo said the band will possibly release around spring break. Acevedo said the group even met and chatted with their idols, The Backseat Lovers, when the alternative band visited KUTX for a radio session in November. 

“We were able to talk to them about how we’re big fans and play a lot of their covers, and share social media with them,” Acevedo said.

Although the band once traveled as far as College Station, TX for a gig, they still said they most enjoy entertaining for a good cause. 

Ann Mills, organizer of Texas Chi Omega’s Dream Jam, which benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation, said she kept hearing people talk about West 22nd during her search for performers.

“When I finally saw videos of them, I thought they were so fun, and that’s what we wanted. People said they were their favorite performance of the night,” said Mills, an urban studies and interior design junior. “Being in college and watching kids pursue a passion is so inspiring. It brings us together because they’re just like us, and they’re on stage having fun. You want to be a part of it.” 

As the band works to grow their team of photographers and managers, as well as book more shows on campus and beyond, the members said they hope to take their dreams as far as possible. 

“I’ve been a concertgoer my whole life, and being a fan of other people and now having people come see (us) is a blessing,” Madsen said. “I never thought I could find as much joy as I have, and it’s definitely something I would do full-time.”