USC indie bands rocking for a better cause

A group of USC Thornton students partnered with the Trevor Project to produce a one night only concert, benefitting the LGBTQ+ community.

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From a class project to the Trevor Project, some USC students are ready to rock for a good cause.

A group of USC Thornton students originally organized The Sunset Show as a requirement for their live production and promotion class. Students were instructed to form groups and put together a live event all on their own.

Lizzie Marcou, a music industry sophomore student, is the lead vocalist and main songwriter for the band Dear Elise. Her band will take the stage alongside two other indie rock bands at USC, My Betsy and Jack Romero, on Thursday at the Sunset Show to raise money for the Trevor Project, which is an organization that seeks to prevent suicide between LGBTQ young people by providing professional counseling.

“Support [for] this specific event is really important to me because multiple members of the band come from the LGBTQ+ community,” Marcou said. “Being able to support other artists that come from that community is just a really important thing to us.”

Mia Corona, Dear Elise bassist and a film major student from Pasadena City College, said that she is very excited to be part of this event that benefits the Trevor Project because she is part of the LGBTQ+ community.

“It’s really cool to be involved in a scene that feels really accepting, especially with how things are going right now in our country with LGBTQ communities,” Corona said. “It’s very hard to feel welcome sometimes, and I don’t know, it’s just really exciting to know that there is a place for musicians that are not straight.”

In addition to raising money for this cause, the band said they are hoping to get a lively response from the audience to make a name for themselves.

“[This event] is great because it’s opening the door to a crowd that is really suited for us, with a much younger and energetic audience,” said Luca Risucci, the band’s guitarist and a business administration student from California State University San Marcos.

For them, it is also important to collaborate with other bands and be able to play together, sharing a broader audience and getting to know other indie rock rising artists.

“It’ll be great to get our music out there and also collaborate with other bands. I know My Betsy is playing and they’re great. We saw them a couple of weeks ago,” Henry Eisenstein, the band’s drummer and an art media design student from California State University San Marcos said. “Getting out there a little more [and] just playing shows in general is fun, but it’s especially going to be cool to play at one of these USC [events].”

Dear Elise is a band that aims to portray the “messed up emotions” that people experience in real life. Marcou talked about her songwriting process. and “making music is the way [they] cope in the way that [they] get through it,” Marcou said.

The band started in early 2019 when Marcou, who said loves singing since she was three years old, asked Risucci, who she met through the Paramount Academy of Music years before, to accompany her on guitar on some of her original songs. After that, they started making new songs and recruited the other members for the band.

The four of them have been playing together ever since.

“[I joined the band] about March or April of 2019 and then [Marcou] and I started writing more songs over that summer,” he said. “We recruited the rest of the band from there.”

They have played at different venues in L.A. such as the Troubadour, The Mint and The Echo and have a “Black Sheep” by Metric cover that reached over 74,000 reproductions on YouTube.

The band is preparing to release new singles in April for their new EP called “The World Wasn’t Big Enough,” which has the members of the band very excited, but they hope to bring new songs and covers for the Sunset Show.

“Hopefully we’re going to be playing a couple of new songs and a couple of new covers that we haven’t played before, so that should be a lot of fun,” Eisenstein said. “We’re just excited for the 23rd.”

The Sunset Show will be held this Thursday, March 23, and you can purchase pre-sale tickets on their website.