Sarah Gross celebrates “New Deja Vu” at Funk ‘n Waffles

Sarah Gross plays Funk 'n Waffles

The singer-songwriter performed a memorable set alongside Gill with the G at the Armory Square venue.
Published: October 1, 2019
Sarah Gross and her band perform at Funk N' Waffles to celebrate the release of Gross's new single,
Caked in a blue spotlight, Sarah Gross and her band perform Sunday at Funk 'n Waffles.

Local Syracuse singer-songwriters Sarah Gross of Sarah and the Grosses, and Gill Pelkonen, of Gill with the G, performed Sunday at Syracuse’s Funk N’ Waffles, leaving good vibes and positive messages for the audience.

The concert began at 6 p.m., as the popular establishment was filled to the brim with Syracuse locals and students. The performance was split into two segments: Gill with the G opened the show with Gross providing backing vocals. For Gross set, the roles were reversed. Both artists were accompanied by two separate talented and experienced bands. They also accompanied each other with harmonies.

Sarah Gross performs at Funk n' Waffles while trumpeter Liam Hines, sporting heart-rimmed sunglasses, looks on.
Sarah Gross performs at Funk n' Waffles while trumpeter Liam Hines, sporting heart-rimmed sunglasses, looks on.

“I just kind of made a promise to myself that I wanted to make music that people could not only relate to but really be like, ‘I get that’,” Gross said about her set.

A man at a nearby table swayed back forth to the funk and rock ‘n’ roll sounds of Pelkonen. He raised his hand as Gross hit each subtle note and sang about love, heartbreak, and life.

“It’s like a hegemonic thing when society kinda makes you believe that you won’t go as far as the starving artist and the poor artists,” Pelkonen said. “But if it’s what you love, then it’s what you love.”

Gill Pelkonen of Gill with the G belts out a soothing melody. Gill with the G opened the show before providing backing vocals for Sarah Gross' set.
Gill Pelkonen of Gill with the G belts out a soothing melody. Gill with the G opened the show before providing backing vocals for Sarah Gross' set.

There were a couple of moments where Sarah and Gill made time to thank their friends and family for supporting their music. They laughed and gestured to the crowd between each joke. Andy Torres Lopez, Sarah’s manager, spoke about how she delivers her music.

“I think a lot of students here have found that there’s something that they can connect too,” he said. “It’s just a very accessible sort of sound.”

Many artists at the SU’s Setnor School of Music have worked with Sarah and Gill on various productions and performances. Sarah released a new single titled “New Déjà Vu,” which reached 200 listens in one day. Cassie Leachman, friend, songwriter and producer, looks forward to what the future brings for them.

“Every time we record a new song, I’m like, ‘oh my god this has a piece of my heart,’” Leachman said. “Now this has a piece of me in this.”

Sarah Gross' bassist Mitch Taylor lays down a solid groove.
Sarah Gross' bassist, Mitch Taylor, lays down a solid groove.

Between the plates of waffles and chicken tenders, each song made the audience move, as they were captured by the emotion and story each song delivered. Gross also emphasized the importance of being real through music.

“I think music is so much about communication, and its communication in a way that we can’t really express in words,” Gross said. “And I think that people really feel that together.”

Gross and Pelkonen’s voices sweetly harmonized through each tune. They left the audience in awe and swept the Sunday evening away into the rustic art and fresh drinks. For Pelkonen, a strong belief is the most important factor for any aspiring musician,

“I think a thing is to believe in yourself,” Pelkonen said. “Because if you’re trying and you’re looking for inspiration, it will find you.”

Avatar for Madeline Powell

is a digital producer for The NewsHouse.

Co Authors :

Avatar for Madeline Powell

is the entertainment lead producer for The NewsHouse.