After months of rehearsals, late night brainstorming and rewritten lyrics, Evan Ford and Tyler Anthony debuted their EP album at the Square Room in Market Square.
Anthony, a UT graduate, and Ford, sophomore in philosophy, make up the Knoxville-based band, Cereus Bright.
The draw of local music drew dozens into the dimly lit Square Room on Friday night, and people laughed and chatted as local musician Ben Bannister opened with some of his own original work. He even performed some acoustic covers of pop songs such as "As Long As You Love Me" by Justin Bieber.
"(Ben) was pretty entertaining and a solid musician," Jordan Mykleby, junior in mechanical engineering, said. "He was a great warm-up for Cereus Bright."
Cereus Bright started as a group of friends playing music together in their living room just for fun. The band made several appearances last year in various venues and coffee shops, stirring up a desire in Anthony and Ford to take what they loved out of their home and into the city.
"We really want to try to be a real band that won't just be for friends to see, but one that can go past Knoxville," Anthony said.
Both bandmates hoped that their hard months of picking strings and perfecting harmonies would draw not only friends and family, but a diverse crowd ranging from those who know every lyric to those who did not even know their genre of music.
"We've worked really hard to take this to a level where we're not trying to play music just for fun," Ford said. "It is still fun, but we also want to take it to the point where we're making this a profession for us where people feel like they're a part of something that bigger than just 'their friend's band.'"
Whether the crowd consisted of friends or not, the Square Room was crowded as people stood, sat, chatted and danced while Cereus Bright serenaded the crowd with songs new and old.
"It was such a happy environment," Julia Crenshaw, sophmore in art, said. "Cereus Bright just made everyone smile and have fun because you could tell that they were having fun up on stage."
The band draws inspiration from popular folk and alternative artists like the Avett Brothers, the Head and the Heart and The Civil Wars, blending those influences with their own sound.
"We try to draw from folk music in a lot of our themes and the way that we instrument our band and the songs," Anthony said. "But we also draw from the world we're in. We kind of call ourselves modern folk."
After dozens of shows on stage, the door to a studio was opened to them, giving them the opportunity to record an EP which will be sold at the show.
Both Anthony and Ford spoke calmly about the show, but an excited satisfaction was undoubtable behind the questions about their music.
"We were just excited to have an audience besides a dog and a few roommates," Ford added.
Their show consisted of new songs mixed with material which sounded familiar to their more dedicated fans.
Cereus Bright's EP will be released on iTunes on Nov. 13.