By: Tommy Walzer
This past Wednesday night The Shack was rockin’ as five acts competed for the title of best band at Mizzou. Each act brought something exciting and different to the table, and it was a pleasure to sit back, jam out, and be exposed to some of this campus’ best-kept musical secrets.
First to the stage were Dangerfield, a Columbia favorite who have surprisingly only been a band for about nine months. Their upbeat alt-pop style got everyone in the crowd excited for the music to come. Their set included a personalized cover of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So,” followed by their fun and mildly explicit song “I’m Ready.” The latter is one I always enjoy seeing them play live, as it’s musically their most jumpy and carefree.
Hailing from Indonesia, Nassa Fickri got on stage alone with nothing but a set of pre-recorded backing tracks and the chugging, upbeat pop-punk sounds of his guitar. Fickri had great stage presence and yet was very humble about his playing; he let the music speak for itself. He even played a song in his native dialect. Hearing his sweet guitar licks and tender lyrics, I could tell how passionate of a musician he really was.
Penniless Profits were next on the roster, filling the room with a bluesy psychedelic sound characterized by thick, heavy riffs and soulful solos. They introduced themselves as “a poor man’s band,” but their sound was remarkably rich, especially for a three-piece band. “We really like to bring the energy of the day to the stage, so that’s why a lot of our things are completely improve,” commented drummer Blake Stockton. This was quite evident to me; structurally, a lot of the music they played just seemed to intricate to have been formulated beforehand.
Tim Aven and Thomas Heney are used to playing intimate acoustic shows, but for Wednesday’s show they opted to plug in and enlist a drummer. This only helped their sound become fuller and more captivating. Aven used an electric guitar for this performance, laying down shimmering solos over the warm chords of Heney’s acoustic guitar. The two cited Eric Clapton and Tom Petty icons who influence their mellow, uplifting sound, which was heard louder and clearer than ever during their set.
Rounding off the night were Ray Wild, an eclectic bunch who got right into the action as soon as singer Jack Pritchett returned from his exam. Right off the bat I was impressed with these guys when guitarist Tyler Stock played part of his guitar solo with his teeth. Their set included a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll,” and the rest of their songs carried a similar 70’s-inspired sound. Their high-energy performance was a great cap to a night of impressive local talent.
At the end of the night, the audience cast their ballots via text, and Dangerfield ended up coming out on top. KCOU would like to congratulate them again, and invite any other student bands to come and rock out at next year’s battle!
Tommy is a junior from Highland Park, IL. He is currently studying communications, and hopes to one day turn his musically dictated life into a productive career. He believes that he can play drums and freestyle rap quite well, and can be seen performing in your friend’s basement on weekends. He sheds a tear every time he puts on his Joan Baez vinyl, and is currently searching for a friend he can discuss black metal with.