Feb

22

Engineering Music

Written by


Crown VictoriaBwogger Justin Gonçalves weighs in with words and pictures from last night’s ESC Battle of the Bands.

Last night, on the storied stage of Roone Arledge Auditorium, the Engineering Student Council capped off its annual E-Week celebrations with the ESC Battle of the Bands. After five bands ran through ten-minute sets, Crown Victoria and the Kitchen Cabinet were crowned winners, leaving this reviewer wondering whether the university’s lack of dedication to undergraduate “underground arts,” as discussed today in the Spec, has had any impact on the music scene’s creative spirit. Has the creative spirit had been replaced entirely by a (not entirely mutually exclusive) desire to entertain?

The night began with eventual winners, Crown Victoria, whose Teddy Geiger-inspired alt-rock set an early tone for the musical portion of the evening. The band, fronted by Alexander Howard C’09, rollicked through a very tight series of tunes that might eventually find their home in a Budweiser commercial. And for that, they received the highest score of the evening.

The ShakeAfter taking a break to meet the Ms. SEAS contestants, last year’s Battle of the Bands’ co-champion The Shake, took the stage. The band, which has been noticeably absent from many of the campus’ musical events, has established a small following in and around New York City with their bombastic Brit-rock, embracing and reveling in the tropes of good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. Each song they played had you wondering whether or not they were finally playing an Oasis cover or just another song that sounded like an Oasis cover. Oh, and Merkin sings with a fake British accent.

CongressThe next band on the docket was Congress. As someone who makes a point of knowing many of my fellow campus musicians, these guys came out of nowhere. And after their cover of “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’ Wit’,” I wasn’t surprised I hadn’t heard of them. Their set continued with some poor covers of Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean” and James Brown’s “Sex Machine,” proving that some songs cannot be easily adapted into the “goofy funk band” genre. Not even the judges, who were relatively lax on its bands, dug Congress.

Kitchen CabinetNext up was the Kitchen Cabinet, comprised of Anna Couturier C’10, Ashraya Gupta C’09, Cynthia Gooden C’10, Michael Molina C’10 (Bwog’s Theatre Editor), and Rob Stenson C’10. Aside from some very unfortunate technical difficulties that hindered the first part of the group’s set, the band played its girl-pop twist on the Grand Ole Opry particularly well. Although the combination of rich harmonies, mandolin, and banjo could’ve easily filled that empty Dixie Chicks-niche on campus, but the Kitchen Cabinet restrained themselves and came off sounding more like the Supremes during that phase where they embraced bluegrass and inexplicably invited Sarah McLachlan to join.

The night’s last performer was also its lone hip-hop act. DJ Tanner, the brainchild of Pete Capraro SEAS ’09 and Michael Kosdan SEAS ’09, came began its set inculcating P. Diddy by reimaginging Bollinger’s “Petty Dictator” Speech as a criticism of mainstream hip-hop. While it’s debatable as to whether the two take themselves seriously, the group’s rhymes and beats come across as a bit, well, whack. For two MCs that are “An army against a plethora of whack,” it’s a bit odd that they can’t se themselves biting the same rap tropes that they’re criticizing. Their set closer, “Hip-Hopcracy,” suddenly took on new meaning.

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25 Comments

  1. yoo  

    Engineers are lame. Can't believe no one got the PrezBo-Ahmadinejad-P. Diddy speech. Fuckin' brilliant.

    • i SEAS two SEAS here  

      DJ Tanner, the brainchild of Pete Capraro SEAS '09 and Michael Kosdan SEAS '09, came began its set inculcating P. Diddy by reimaginging Bollinger's "Petty Dictator" Speech as a criticism of mainstream hip-hop.

  2. Nope  

    Justin Goncalves is wack. DJ Tanner and MJK were hilarious.

  3. vmprwknd  

    "Each song they played had you wondering whether or not they were finally playing an Oasis cover or just another song that sounded like an Oasis cover. Oh, and Merkin sings with a fake British accent."

    ouch.

  4. Carman 5  

    It is sad that you can't appreciate the pure entertainment of your former roommate, Justin.

    "Has the creative spirit had been replaced entirely by a (not entirely mutually exclusive) desire to entertain?"

    Read: Columbia is not hipster enough for me.

  5. MORTO  

    Up Late with Jeff Julain review?

  6. Ash Gupta  

    is absolutely adorable.

  7. TKC  

    our creative spirit has been replaced by an entirely mutually exclusive desire to be just like the dixie chicks.

  8. Why do SEAS  

    students make such good musicians?

    They have engine-ears!

  9. rob stenson  

    would look good in a dixie chicks outfit.

    i'm thinking halter top, tight jeans with a "texas girl" belt buckle, and a sassy cowboy hat worn slightly akimbo.

  10. anon  

    This article= bitter ranting since his own band didn't get to perform.

  11. ATTN goncalves:  

    per OED, inculcate = to endeavour to force (a thing) into or impress (it) on the mind of another by emphatic admonition; to teach forcibly

    good try, though

    • JAG  

      my mistake. thanks.

      and i'm not quite sure what columbia being hipster entails. the terms gets thrown around in the bwog comments a lot and, well, it doesn't seem to make much sense. sure, i was a bit critical, but hoping that fellow musicians try to push the envelope or wishing that some dude didn't affect a british accent when he sang has little to do with columbia being "hipster."

      and in regards to the bitterness. yes, i was a bit bitter that i wasn't able to perform, but, to be honest, i think it had more to do with the event than any musical assessment of music i've made. i think that's fair. and, to be honest, i'm not surprised.

  12. wait  

    "I think it had more to do with the event than any musical assessment of music I've made."

    Is it just me or does that make absolutely no sense?

  13. Stephen Schwelp  

    To review ULwJJ, Bwog would have to break their strict policy of never fully praising an event. Everyone knows the Jester is like a beautiful yet shy girl, when it gets around to putting out, it opens your mind to the possibility of truth in religion.

  14. Well..  

    Same author on DJ Tanner's nearly identical performance last year:

    "The evening's performances came to a close with the night's lone hip-hop act, DJ Tanner. The act is comprised of DJ Tanner and his partner in rhyme MJK. Tanner himself is like a literate Eminem on the mic, with MJK serving as a more than worthy counterpart."

  15. TKC  

    =Totally Kool Cats.

  16. xxx  

    "Has the creative spirit had been replaced entirely by a (not entirely mutually exclusive) desire to entertain?"

    wow, penetrating question considering you're covering a battle of the bands--a musical competition. heaven forbid a band play listenable music that people actually enjoy--be it satirical hip hop, catchy twee folk, or 311-inspired rap covers. deriding them for not being experimental enough is a shitty way way of encouraging the musical vitality of our campus.

    justin, just because your band didn't get to play doesn't mean these bands are backward and tasteless.

    • noooo  

      these bands are backward and tasteless not because this guy's group didn't get to play but because THEY SOUND LIKE MIDDLESCHOOLERS COVERING CREED. FUUUUUUCK!!!!
      i don't even know this guy, and i don't really like hipsters, but he makes a good point. the music scene on this campus is depressing! i would expect crown victoria to win at BYU-Idaho on a wild night or something, but this is supposed to be an artistic cool place where dudes with epic ballads and volumizing gel don't blow you away. have you people even heard the music you guys are criticizing this guy for criticizing?
      i think a lot of the problem comes from lack of practice space and equipment. community colleges have drumsets set up for people to play on, what the fuck is the deal with cu?
      korrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnn

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