Gusties shine in local band

Michaela WoodwardStaff Writer

Gustavus Senior Joseph Weckwerth has seen his band, Let’s Be Kids, through many phases as far back as middle school. 

The three-piece band has its roots in the classic rock cover band Weckwerth started in seventh grade, a time where students are beginning to pick up instruments and getting started with music. Weckwerth and Let’s Be Kids’ bassist, Jonathan Kraemer, played together and took the band further in high school when they added drummer Tony Okeefe to the group. All three attended school in Stillwater, where they met, and Kraemer and Okeefe are currently students at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. 

Originally the band was a four-piece, including another guitarist, who left the band a year ago. “This is definitely the final form of the band. We work very well together,” Weckwerth said.

Evolving from their classic rock days, Let’s Be Kids is an indie rock band that plays a mix of covers and original music. Much of their writing and style inspiration comes from the underground indie rock scene in Minneapolis, including bands like Lapogs and The Happy Children. Listeners may also recognize similarities to Cage the Elephant and the Black Keys. However, the band retains a unique sound that is all their own. “One of the things that makes our music unique is that we each individually have our own inspirations. Those influences come together in interesting ways and I think it gives us an original sound,” Weckwerth said.

In addition to being a member of the Gustavus Choir and taking jazz and classical piano lessons, Weckwerth has contributed to music on campus by bringing his band here to perform. “We played at Gustavus last spring. We just had lamps, stuff to light us. We had about 150 people show up. I think everyone had a really good time. It was sort of towards the end of Covid and I think people were excited to see live music again. It was a very DIY type of feel. We were playing on the grass, the same level as everybody. We actually like playing on the same level as everybody because it gives the feeling of, like, being with the crowd instead of above the crowd,” Weckwerth said.

Additionally, the band has played in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Colorado. In the future they plan to return to these locations as well as Gustavus. Their main goal looking forward is to break into the music scene in Minneapolis to get established and share their music with a wider audience. They were originally scheduled to play on campus during the Greek Life Carnival on Friday the 16th, but this event has since been canceled. Their upcoming shows include playing for Homecoming in Eau Claire, as well as a show at the Kollege Klub in Minneapolis in two weeks. 

Anyone interested in attending a Let’s Be Kids show can expect energy, loud music, and fun. “One of the cool things about indie rock music and especially underground indie rock music… It’s very energetic, it’s very upbeat, it’s hard to listen to while standing still. It probably means at least jumping around. We really want to give people the feeling [that] we’re all making it happen together; it’s not just coming to watch, it’s the whole atmosphere of a bunch of people just showing up to listen to music, to have fun, to not worry about things, to experience music together,” Weckwerth said.

Those interested in staying up to date on the band’s activities can follow them on Instagram @_letsbekids_ and listen to their music on Spotify and other streaming platforms. 

“If you hear that we’re coming, show up. It’ll be a good time. It’ll be fun. That’s the bottom line. It’s just about showing up and having fun,” Weckwerth said.