Performers vie for prizes in Battle of the Bands

by Caela Murphy | 4/13/14 4:39pm

Last night, Friday Night Rock’s blue neon sign illuminated the path into Sarner Underground, where five bands and one solo performer competed in a Battle of the Bands contest.

The music varied from bluegrass to brass band, highlighting the talent of a wide range of campus groups.

“The level of skill these bands have is great,” Moises Silva ’16, drummer for The Euphemisms, said. “You get a good variety.”

The show, sponsored by FNR and Collis After Dark, opened with the Sunday Hedonists, who kicked off the evening with songs by Vampire Weekend and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Next up was a solo performance by Noah Bond ’13, who played original songs that he composed in the past five years. Bond said his songs have a smooth, bluegrass feel. He added that audience members may not have been prepared for his “softer” musical style, which he described as “folk-pop.”

Taking the stage next was The Euphemisms, who played a lively mix of pop and indie rock. Yazmine Patino ’17 said she had come specifically to see the band play.

“They always get the crowd really pumped up, and the energy is amazing,” she said.

Introducing the group’s second song, a remix of Beirut’s “Postcards from Italy” and Bastille’s “Pompeii,” lead singer Dan Calano ’15 invited listeners to picture themselves on a beach in Hawaii. The song, which saxophonist Hannah O’Flynn ’15 described as “dramatic, mellow, smooth and heart-melty,” had audience members swaying to the tune of O’Flynn’s saxophone and featured a spirited ukulele performance by Carl Neisser ’15.

As The Euphemisms left the stage, the crowd looked up expectantly for the next group. Suddenly, a burst of brass erupted from the back of the room, and the Dartmouth College Marching Band entered playing “Glory to Dartmouth” and chanting “Dartmouth, Dartmouth, go Green go!” Decked out in flair, sunglasses and feather boas, the group performed arrangements of “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, “Hey! Baby” by Bruce Channel and Richard O’Brien’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show” classic “Time Warp” before collapsing to the ground.

“There was definitely a lot of excitement in the room, a lot more than I was expecting,” trombonist Maddie Abbott ’15 said. “It was really great playing in front of such a receptive crowd.”

Next up was Burn the Barn, which had a strong showing of support from its members’ fraternity, Alpha Chi Alpha. The group navigated tricky syncopation in “Tighten Up” by the Black Keys and tempo changes in Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff,” ending with “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” by Jet, which featured an animated performance by lead singer Thomas Pears ’15 and a bassline played expertly by Phil Larie ’15.

The final group to perform, Lady and the Tramps, added an ambient twist to folk songs by Bon Iver, Ed Sheeran and Of Monsters and Men. The crowd was especially responsive to the group’s closing piece, “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers, singing along — “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier” — to the song’s refrain.

The show was the first performance for the group, which formed just over a week ago and features Daniel Shanker’16 and Ted Owens’16 from the band Some Kind of Jet Pilot. Lead singer Latika Sridhar ’16 said she was nervous for the performance as she was unsure of what to expect.

“I didn’t expect it to be so easy on stage,” Sridhar said. “I got so much energy from the crowd that I didn’t even have to try to look like I was having fun.”

When the set ended, the lights came on and viewers cast their votes. Minutes later, emcee Matt Garczynski ‘14 announced the winners. The third place prize of $100 went to The Euphemisms.

“That’s 400 gumballs!” an exuberant Neisser exclaimed.

Lady and the Tramps came in second place to win $200, and Burn the Barn won first, earning $300 (or, as Garczynski noted, 1,200 gumballs).

Burn the Barn guitarist John Cofer ’15 said he appreciated the large turnout.

“A lot of people came through,” Cofer said. “Different bands brought different people to support them, and that was fun to have kind of a scene in a college-sponsored event. I’m looking forward to more.”

Margarette Nelson and Rebecca Asoulin contributed reporting.