UNiFied Fridays ushers in spring nice and easy

Maggie Seppi

If you’re looking for a place to meet some new people, enjoy live music by local bands or just chill out, UNiFied Fridays can make that happen.

The motivation behind UNiFied Fridays is to bring students together by featuring various artists to suit all tastes, said Greg Bruce, who sits on the Student Affairs Committee at UNF and is also the general manager of Apollo Worldwide, the company working in conjunction with UNF to make the events possible.

Kicking off Dec. 2, UNiFied Fridays will continue throughout the Spring semester.

“The purpose of these shows is to show both Jacksonville and the world that we have amazing local talent here,” Bruce said.

The events also allow students to catch a glimpse of bands performing at Superfest, a music festival taking place this spring at UNF.

“[UNiFied Fridays] are kind of like a happy hour for young people,” Bruce said. “It’s all about celebrating youth and cultural diversity.”

The Jan. 6 performance featured Be Easy and DJ Nate, both Jacksonville-area artists.

Be Easy is a three-piece outfit, originally from Carbondale, Ill.

Justin Macklan, the Cajon master, and Aaron Grigsby, the lead singer, are cousins who grew up together in Illinois. After some time experimenting with various bands back home, the two met Ryan Emling, the acoustic guitarist for Be Easy and a veteran of the music scene.

“We were in a band at home in Illinois,” Grigsby said. “But that was more for fun, and we are looking to expand and meet more musicians.”

The trio moved to Neptune Beach in August and is enjoying positive feedback and available venues.

“We love how mellow it is here,” Macklan said. “And where we’re from, we have to drive an hour to reach the bars, so the Jacksonville venues are good because they are all over the beach and are often open six days a week.”

The group said it hopes to remain in Jacksonville for a while and expand, if possible. Though the band is sticking mostly to performing covers for now, its first original material is in the works.

Be Easy easily won over the students in the audience.

“I love [Grigsby’s] voice and his facial expressions. They really keep me entertained,” said Nora Sherlock, a UNF English junior. “They have a great song collection going, and they seem like great guys.”

 

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