Awesome bands at Awesomefest
Awesomefest. The name says it all, like something out of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. How much do you want to say, “Dude...I’m going to Awesomefest right now?” It just sounds cool, especially on a Friday night when you’re brain-dead from the week and ready to have a good time.
This afternoon and evening, the Program Board presents to you the second annual Awesomefest, a completely free musical event featuring five eclectic and spunky Oberlin bands.
Headless Body in a Topless Bar and the Bucketkickers perform at 4:30 and 5:20 at TGIF, and the Briars, Cobalt and Drunk Band will perform tonight at the ’Sco at 10, 10:50 and 11:40.
Senior Matt Hartgering said, “[Awesomefest is] inclusivity at its finest. Program Board uses its funds and connections to cover all the costs and make the arrangements for everyone involved, and [the event] features a vast array of musical styles. The whole idea is to use campus resources to give a stage to campus bands.”
Normally, a student band with limited funds would have difficulty arranging a gig at the ’Sco, where hiring Concert Sound (a mandatory ’Sco procedure) can cost up to $600.
“Unless you’re able to open for a touring act, the ’Sco is difficult to play,” said Hartgering, an organizer of the event and a guitar player/vocalist in Cobalt. He hopes to have Awesomefests once a semester in the following years.
The musical styles of the bands selected for the event range from ska to soul, and showcase students of all years from both the College and the Conservatory.
Headless Body in a Topless Bar, who opened Awesomefest this afternoon, is comprised of senior Jami Creason, sophomore Brendan Renne and 28-year-old “tenth-year” student Steve Kovatch.
They describe their music as “Radiohead meets Dead Kennedys meets with death in a fateful car ride,” and derived the name of their band from Renne’s “idea of heaven.”
If you missed Headless Body at TGIF, or just want to hear more of their music, go see them Thursday, Oct. 13 at the Cat in the Cream. Look out for them at various house parties in the upcoming weeks.
A different genre of music completely, the Bucketkickers are a ska band influenced by groups such as Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Pietasters and Toasters. Bucketkickers features seniors Leah Frank and Jon Good, juniors Peter Collopy, Brandon Smith and Carly Truman, sophomores Sean O’Brien and Will Sheppard and first-year Dylan Leach. The group will play their next gig at Harkness on Oct. 14.
Opening the night line-up at the ’Sco is returning band the Briars, who played at the first-ever Awesomefest last spring.
“We hope for the same high turnout as last year’s Awesomefest despite the later time-slot. We’re really looking forward to going all-out at the show and seeing the other great bands do the same,” said senior Josh Lava, who plays the keyboard and performs vocals in the Briars.
The other members of The Briars are junior Alex Nichols and sophomores Nate Levin and Jake Robinson. Lava describes the band’s sound as “eclectic rock, drawing from many different genres including soul, jazz and classical.”
The Briars have two free shows coming up: Thursday, Oct. 13, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Oberlin Inn (21 and over) and Saturday, Oct. 15, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at “Unleash the Beast: East’s Coming Out Party” in North Quad in front of East. If you’re into the Briars, check out their website at www.thebriarsband.com.
Following the Briars will be Cobalt, another returning band comprised of seniors Tom Fort, Hartgering and Mike Roth and junior Alie Plotsky. The band has been together for a little more than two years, and came upon their name as they were climbing Mount Vesuvius together one day.
“Suddenly we trip,” said Hartgering, “and we start to fall. Ahhhh we’re falling, Ahhhhhh! Then we’re like, wait a minute, haven’t we been smoking peyote for three straight weeks and couldn’t some of this be in our minds? And it was! So the next day we were all meeting as a band and had a list of names, and we thought about it and chose Cobalt.”
Sound familiar? If it does, you belong at Awesomefest. Go right now. Cobalt’s music is diverse in both sound and genre.
Hartgering said, “Our songs cover a wide range and let us shift around a lot. For instance, last spring we played Oberlin Folk Fest and opened for a punk band in the ’Sco in the same weekend.”
The Drunk Band will wrap up Awesomefest with music “steeped in lore,
tradition and alcohol,” said Hartgering. Without the Drunk Band, the event
would have to simply be called “Fest.”