AS Presents: Peach Tree Rascals Live Performance and Q&A

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Photo Courtesy of Ones to Watch

Jonathan Lara

Contributing Writer

On Jan. 21, the Associated Students (AS) Program Board hosted a live concert and Q&A with Peach Tree Rascals, an up-and-coming band from Southern California. Though the performance took place virtually, Peach Tree Rascals brought energy and charm to make fans sing, dance, and laugh along.

After being introduced by AS Program Board’s Concerts Coordinator Talia Heimanson, the San Jose-based group introduced themselves and performed their first song of the evening, “OOZ.” Peach Tree Rascals sing about the intoxicating feelings of falling in love. A highlight of this performance was band member Isaac Pech’s rap, which contrasted beautifully with Tarrek Abdel-Khaliq and Joseph Barros’ lead vocals and harmonizations.

The group performed more songs off their new album, Camp Nowhere. The most notable was their performance of “Change My Mind,” a chill, carefree tune reminding listeners to live their life. In the song’s chorus, they sing, “I’ve been wasting all my days / tired of blaming my mistakes,” highlighting what’s most impressive about Peach Tree Rascals: their ability to display a sense of relatability within their lyrics. Much of their music deals with self-doubt, heartbreak, and unattained freedom. Each song was like a glance at the life of an ordinary college student. Peach Tree Rascals normalizes the ups and downs of young adulthood, yet reminds viewers to relax and have fun through the difficult years ahead.

Peach Tree Rascals was not shy in interacting with the audience. Abdel-Khaliq in particular twerked out to the music at some points, causing the Zoom chat to explode with comments of adoration. The group would frequently talk about the inspiration and meaning of their music, such as the song “Summa,” described by Pech as a catchy earworm to “play if you’re feeling down.” These personal moments, which showed off each of the member’s personalities, were some of my favorites throughout the evening. It was evident how much music played a role in their lives and how much fun they have performing, often making jokes throughout the set to keep the energy going.

The band ended the concert with a performance of “Mariposa,” a TikTok viral sensation from 2019. It was arguably the best production of the night, with Barros dancing and Abdel-Khaliq bringing out a paper mâché white rose, twirling it to the beat of the song. Peach Tree Rascals cherishes “Mariposa” for making them more well-known to the public, with the band now at over 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify. 

The following Q&A highlighted the formation of the group, with Pech, Barros, Abdel-Khaliq, Dominic Pizano, and Jorge Olazaba meeting in high school, sharing a bond for basketball. When Pech started making music on SoundCloud and Pizano got interested in producing, it became a pivotal moment for the creation of the band. The band’s newest member, and Barros’ cousin, Jasper Barros, joined in 2020. Abdel-Khaliq recalled the moment the band came up with their name: the lights had just flickered on in the studio and the day was sunny. Something just felt right and they have stuck with Peach Tree Rascals ever since.

What made this virtual concert and Q&A with Peach Tree Rascals prosperous was its ability to showcase the talent of each member. I left this event knowing that the group was putting 100 percent of their effort into everything they put out, down to their cover art and visuals courtesy of Olazaba’s impeccable eye for design. In addition, it was great to see a SoCal band continue to succeed without the pressure of changing their sound. Despite technical difficulties, the concert was a great way for students to have fun in the midst of remote instruction.