There are many opportunities for musicians on Boston College’s campus. There is BC Idol, where any student with a passion for music has the chance to share that passion with the rest of the student body. There are also the countless a cappella groups, ensembles, and choirs that perform each week. There are none quite like BC’s Battle of the Bands, however.
The Arts Council, UGBC, Music Guide, and Nights on the Heights (NOTH) have teamed up to bring the best of BC’s bands together to compete for the spotlight, opening for a premier artist headlining Modstock. For all of our campus’ bands, digital music samples are due by Friday, Feb. 22 to firstname.lastname@example.org, giving the judges ample time to make the tough decision of who will get the epic opportunity to perform in the Battle of the Bands preliminary. Those successful enough to wow the judges once more in a live performance will get a slot during the Arts Festival Battle of the Bands final. The preliminary is a deciding event for the groups, as it takes a completely different set of skills to put on a show.
Take the 2011 Battle of the Bands winner, for example. The Loose Handle Band, which won at the Arts Festival and got the chance to open for Sugar Ray at Modstock, was a band born to perform live. Their set was one of the highlights of the mini music festival. Having released their first formal release, a self-titled EP, The Loose Handle Band is starting to build momentum. Backed by an upright bass, mandolin, banjo, and the twangy guitar of front man Jake Hunzeker, the folk pop of the quartet fills the energized six-track record. Their sound is comparable to the likes of Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, or Old Crow Medicine Show: powerfully gritty and fun.
While the band has a natural talent apparent on their record, their true passion lies in their performances, which was amply demonstrated at Modstock 2011. Their show set the tone for the entirety of the festivities, vamping up the energy levels before Sugar Ray took the stage. Over the summer the group played a set at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston, showcasing some of their new tracks on their EP, as well as a few covers including “Buddy Holly” by Weezer.
BC has given rise to many other talented musicians, as well, such as Craig Finn, lead singer of The Hold Steady, singer-songwriter Christine Kane, American Idol contestant, Ayla Brown, singer-songwriter Ellis Poehler, and Mike Najarian, drummer for State Radio. For all we know, the next big thing might be performing March 15 in the Vanderslice Cabaret Room.