By Cuilin Chen
Perhaps you haven’t heard of the band Lucid Soul, but believe it or not, they wear pajamas in their show. Tonight, they are battling four other BC bands: The Keytones, Small Talk, Infidel Castro, and Juice. Battle of the Bands, hosted by the Arts Council, Music Guild, and CAB, takes place once a year to help original bands thrive on the BC campus. Three of the five groups tonight will go on to compete for the title of BC’s Best on the Arts Festival’s main stage, Friday April 24, 8PM.
The bands are eager to take over the stage in the Vandy Cabaret Room tonight, waiting in the wings while the crowds swell to capacity and the four judges take their seats. As the battle commences, guitar sounds and drum sounds vehemently pounding the walls, the space around me seems to expand. Every second is punctuated by the rhythm, as time flies with the melody. The moment is enhanced by not only the music, but the performance itself makes the flow of energy visible and tangible. Every band is unique in style, their music genres ranging from hip pop, jam, funk, pop, rock to mixtures of all the above. The variety of instruments used also adds possibilities to the music. In particular, the band Juice, whose next move is to publish their first album, impresses me tremendously as a diverse group who perfectly unify the sounds of violin, acoustic guitar, guitar, drums, and bass. They complement and contrast with each other, creating layers and enriching the experience for the audience. The band is especially uplifting as each member, immersed in music, has a genuine smile on his face.
If it is joy and beauty that I mostly find in Juice’s music, Lucid Soul and Infidel Castro sound more tough and throw me into an exciting underground setting（like a cave, if you like), with the heavy sounds of guitar, drums, and bass. Following a coherent and repetitive pattern, Lucid Soul subtly yet progressively amplifies the dynamics of their music with an engaging composition. It runs like a stream and carries me away. One thing I like particularly is the sense of depth in their music. As provocative as it needs to be to awaken senses, meanwhile it gives some quiet space for the soul to retreat into. Infidel Castro, in contrast, performs with a more explosive manner. As the lead vocalist jumps up and down accompanied by the rising tides of cheering in the audience, the band is unlocking its rebellious spirit without reservation–not surprising given that it’s called “Infidel Castro”.
The other two bands, Keytones and Small Talk, although not winning prizes this year, are extremely creative as well by differing stanzas and incorporating various forms of performances. One of the judges, Sarah Hannaway, Events Manager for the Art Council and a musician herself, says, “All of the bands did really well tonight and it was a very tough call. This is one of my favorite events of the year—we basically stage a rock concert in the middle of a dorm—and the crowds just keep growing.” In the end, reigning BC’s Best champions Juice made it through to the final, along with Infidel Castro and Lucid Soul. The three bands will go head to head on the ArtsFest main stage on Thursday, April 23rd.
Winning applause from the audience, the bands also congratulate and send words of appreciation to each other. It is truly touching to see the amount of dedication the bands put in their music, and the amount of passion the audience invest in the show in reciprocation. Everyone is closely tied by music at this moment, because this is a show of a nature that requires one to actively participate. What I see, what I hear, what I feel, and what I love about it, is nothing magical but a raw yet empowering energy taking the form of music. If you buy into the stereotype that BC is a campus of preppy J.Crew models, go to battle of the bands next year for a glimpse of one of the ways alternative culture is thriving at BC.