From a Cypher organized by CUSH, the winning group, earlier this year

The Abacchalypse approacheth—only 14 days away! Last night, CU Records hosted a battle of the bands to see which Columbia band would get to open for inimitable Snoop Dogg and Das Racist. We now know that CUSH (Columbia University Society of Hip-Hop) came out on top, but Bwog’s resident Rocker Groupie Lily Icangelo was there to give us a more atmospheric look at the evening.

The term “Battle of the Bands” recalls beautiful high school nostalgia—you know, when bands with names like “Xtreme Darkness” and “Fallen Angelz” would duke it out in a half empty school gymnasium for the coveted prize of a $50 Guitar Center gift card. Luckily, CU Records’ Battle 4 Bacchanal left the bleak awkwardness of those high school squabbles out of this grown up college version of Battle of the Bands.

Despite its unfortunately lame name, Lerner Party Space managed to transform itself into the perfect venue for this event. The crowd around the stage was sizeable and pleasantly packed while the line for the bathroom was non-existent (the true markings of a successful night)!

It can sometimes be hard to find genuine excitement and enthusiasm in the typical jaded college student, but the audience at Battle 4 Bacchanal seemed genuinely entertained by the surprisingly talented bands. The audience’s excitement was key, as their active participation was part of the voting process. Every band had its own code that the audience could text as their vote to a special Battle 4 Bacchanal phone number.

Each act was very well received by the audience, but there were definitely a couple of crowd favorites. A loud group of fans chanted “Blaxel! Blaxel!” both before and after the band played. Blaxel didn’t let their chanting fans down as they played an energetic set of catchy pop/rock songs. The voice that came out of Meghna Prasad, CC ’11, was unexpectedly strong and soulful, while her stage presence left a powerful impact on the audience.

Listening to the audience was almost as entertaining as listening to the bands. During one band’s set, a group of guys stood in the middle of the crowd discussing how easy forming a band and performing would probably be: “No dude like playing the guitar is really not that hard, you just put your hands on the strings, learn five chords, and you can write super popular songs. That’s all that these guys are doing.” Later in the night, the always-pleasing Night Eyes inspired some interesting dance moves from the audience as well as a couple of public make-out sessions.

CUSH (Columbia University Society of Hip-Hop), the largest group of the competition in both members and in sound, was the overwhelming crowd favorite, so it was no surprise when they were announced as the winners. The crowd seemed to double when CUSH came to the stage. They played a set that had everyone up on their feet jumping and swaying to the beat (or at least trying to move in some sort of rhythmically correct manner).

It’s nice to know that a group that inspired so much genuine zeal from the Columbia audience will take the Bacchanal stage at the end of this month. After the fantastic show that CUSH put on last night, it can only be assumed that they will play an equally, if not more, entertaining show when they open will Snoop Dog and Das Racist.

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