Krispies band brings the "snap, crackle and pop"

Krispies band brings the "snap, crackle and pop"

Deep diving into the band's first official performance and their origin story

By Merrill Hart

Photo by Domenick FiniAugust 30 2023

The energy was palpable as Krispies bandmates huddled in a dark parking lot following Friday night’s house show set — the group’s first performance as a full band. Right after rocking the audience with electric performances of covers ranging from “Creep” by Radiohead to “Ain’t it Fun” by Paramore, Krispies members were still buzzing over their success.


The student group of seven brought their eclectic blend of pop, funk and rock to the stage during the Barbie-themed event, hosted by V Magazine at UVA and student-run radio station WXTJ.


Maxwell Mitchell — guitarist, vocalist, and second-year College student — recounted the band’s race to find another song when the crowd demanded an encore. Matt McGraw, bassist and second-year College student, scrolled frantically through his phone until landing upon “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars.


The band played the hit with “some speed bumps,” Mitchell said, but ultimately pulled off the finale to top off a killer opening night.


“That's what I love about our band — all of us are very talented musicians in our own right, so we can all pick up on things very quickly and it's very seamless,” Mitchell said.


With backgrounds in bluegrass, jazz trumpet and even classical piano, the seven current Krispies members met through a blend of University events, student housing and fraternity life. 


Mitchell and McGraw first crossed paths before coming to the University during an event for Echols scholars. Then, Mitchell and Kate Magione — lead vocalist and second-year College student — started talking music at the U.Va. Club of Boston event hosted for incoming University students that summer. 


After these three members started a group chat, they found Jack Leonard, lead guitarist and second-year Engineering student, through University Records — a student-run organization that connects musicians. When Mitchell and McGraw joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity last spring, they connected with brothers Danny Freedman, keyboardist and second-year Engineering student, Bachelor Burt, drummer and second-year College student and Cavan Meade, strings, vocalist and second-year Engineering student.


The band’s name evolved along the way, starting with two separate groups, “Grease Monkey” and “Krispies” who combined to form “Krispies with Sara” — a reference to a random message scrawled across a whiteboard in the Balz-Dobie dorm where the band practiced.


After a brief stint as “Adding Triplets” — an homage to the triple rhythms used by bands like Maroon Five — the group returned to “Krispies” just in time for Friday’s curtain call.


“Our goal is to confuse,” Burt said.


Despite this complex origin story, the band rehearsed tirelessly for two weeks leading up to Friday’s house show to create a cohesive sound.


“We're a big band,” Mitchell said. “But because of that, we have some kind of unique instrumentation that allows us to do a lot of different styles.”


This diversity in style goes beyond just sound. All dolled up for the Barbie theme, Magione paid tribute with a neon pink top and pair of heart-shaped sunglasses. Others — Mitchell, Burt and Meade — added simple pink accents to their outfits.


Leonard, on the other hand, fully unleashed his inner Ken with a neon pink Hawaiian shirt unbuttoned to reveal a gold chain, along with jeans tucked into well-worn cowboy boots.


“You already know [Leonard]’s gonna pull up in some insanely patterned button down shirt,” Magione said. “And then the cowboy boots, like, are we kidding?”


Looking forward, the Krispies are excited to book more venues. Some members already have connections with Crozet after playing in past bands, and Mitchell also mentioned Coupes as an exciting option. 


While Krispies currently only plays covers, Mitchell releases original music on Spotify. He said he would love to play these songs with the band, along with experimenting on new styles.


“Moving forward, we're really going to be trying to play around with [the sound] because we have that opportunity,” Mitchell said.


Freedman also proposed an innovative approach to future performances — based off of EDM DJ Steve Aoki’s gimmick of throwing cake at the crowd.


“What if we started a tradition where, mid set, we threw Rice Krispies at the audience?” Freedman said.


Whether or not they will have free Rice Krispie treats thrown at them, one thing is certain — Charlottesville music lovers should keep an eye out for future Krispies shows. This band packs its punches with snap, crackle and lots of pop.