Last Friday, thirteen Carleton bands competed for two coveted spots on the stage at Spring Concert in Carleton’s Battle of the Bands.The event, which took place at The Grand in downtown Northfield, pitted a heavy lineup of student bands against each other starting at 9:00 and continuing until 1:00, a schedule that granted each band 18 minutes on stage. After a frenzied four hours of music, dancing, and a little bit of moshing, the winners were revealed.
Student bands Duck Bus and Sorpresa will be joining Dr. Dog and the Cool Kids for Spring Concert sixth weekend.
“It was pretty amazing to win,” said Duck Bus guitarist Andy Rooks, ’10. “I didn’t see it coming. We were pretty convinced we were going to lose because we won last year.” The band broke a recent trend, however, by winning the contest for the second consecutive year.
The judging process was carried out by student judges Sarah Duane, ’11, Eric Huberty, ’10, and Mary Henke-Haney, ’09, as well as faculty and staff judges Chris Rasinen and Greg Marfleet. The bands were judged in five categories: Quality of Music, Showmanship, Crowd Enthusiasm, Overall Impression, and Fit for Spring Concert.
“I think the judges look for original music and to see that you’re an established band,” added organizer Kitty O’Connell, ’10. “One thing that was annoying was that bands formed for Battle of the Bands. In the future, I think we want established bands.”
Despite the number of newly formed bands, the music of the night was generally well-performed. The bands ranged across the spectrum in genres, from the electro-folk of Gimantis to the jam funk of Neckbeard to the punk of Lights and Sound.
“It was the friendliest Battle of the Bands I’ve ever played,” said Rooks. This was apparent in the good-natured stage antics of many of the performers, especially closing act Neckbeard, who brought an unsurpassed level of camaraderie to the stage. This good cheer also carried over to the crowd.
“It was really cool to play for an audience that was so pumped,” said Drew Chambers, ’10, member of the alternative rock band Crazy Pants. The audience provided a considerable level of energy throughout the night, especially after 10:30. The energy was high for techno group Influx Techtrometer, and it culminated in an energetic mosh for hardcore band Fuctape, which provided for one of the most memorable sets of the night.
Fuctape and Crazy Pants received honorable mentions for their spirited performances.
The energy was kept up throughout the night by emcees Alex Higgin-Houser, ’10, and Evan McMahon, ’08. Also, since there were thirteen bands, there were no sound checks, which kept the pace of the show moving.
“It was run really well,” observed Rooks. Fortunately, the Grand provided a good venue for the show and worked with Carleton to make it happen successfully.
“They were really accommodating,” said O’Connell, pointing out that the biggest difficulties in making sure the show ran smoothly were setting up and making sure the time was distributed fairly. To ensure this, the time slots were given out randomly, which meant that not all bands had the luxury of playing for a packed house. Despite an earlier set, though, the band Sorpresa managed to take the second place spot due to a spirited performance.
“Sorpresa was really good,” observed Duck Bus bassist Dylan Frazao, ’10. The band had criticisms for themselves that they hope to improve upon for Spring Concert, however.
“I wish [singer] Julian [Oja] would have worn tighter pants,” commented guitarist Dan Breitbach, ’08. Duck Bus had its own share of wishes as well, and despite the smooth execution of the event, there was one thing missing.
“The pyrotechnics were really sub-par,” Frazao quipped