Campus Activities Council (CAC) hosted a Battle of the Bands for student-organized bands on Saturday, Nov. 19th, to showcase their sound.Three student bands, The Runaways, Goshen Panic, and Potential Novelty, competed. Goshen-alum-started Gross Puppy performed a set as well.
There’s no shortage of music at Goshen College, with every weekend seeming to boast a jazz concert, Performing Arts Series event, or choral performance. Most of these events are formal ones targeted primarily to the surrounding community rather than students.
The Battle of the Bands was a different story. Colorful flashing lights and a small stage transformed Newcomer Center 19 from a classroom to a venue. CAC decked out the attendees with glow bracelets and provided snacks and pre-show entertainment, offering cash to students willing to brave the stage and eat something strange or disgusting, like soap or a stick of butter.
The whole event was informal, with people coming and going. The crowd stood around the stage, optimal for dancing and intimate interaction with the band rather than sitting in organized seating.
First to perform were The Runaways, who sang two covers and got the crowd warmed up. Lead singer Karsten Shaw liked the low-key performance atmosphere of Newcomer.
“I appreciate the smaller type of band activities, [and] not always on Sauder in such a big environment like kickoff,” he said. Shaw also commented that he would definitely play more on-campus gigs if there were more frequent informal events.
The student body in attendance also enjoyed the casual ambiance.
Sophia Smucker, a junior social work major, thought Newcomer made a good place for the concert: “I think there’s a good space back there…for a stage,” she said, “ [it] worked really well.”
She also thought the late Saturday night was a key factor in the event’s success. “There was good energy; everyone was having a good time,” she added.
Next up was Goshen Panic, the instrumental band that won second place at Kickoff for their mashup of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and Industry Baby by Lil Nas X. Band member Sam Scheele put together that arrangement and the piece for the Battle of the Bands.
“He asked us what pieces we think we should play and then he makes arrangements of them,” said trumpet player Jonathan Orjala. Then, “we had three rehearsals that were maybe an hour, and that was about it.”
The performance seamlessly moved from one song to the next, and the excited crowd would have been hard-pressed to guess the musicians had gotten the act together so quickly before bringing Scheele’s arrangement to the stage.
Third in the lineup was Gross Puppy, who played two original songs. GC Alum and lead singer Abraham Medellin was pleasantly surprised by the audience’s response. He was prepared for a quieter reception, but the students danced, jumped and cheered with all four bands.
Medellin also initially reached out to a CAC member in jest when he saw an advertisement looking for performers for the event. “It started as a joke and now I’m here,” he said.
The finale – the band Potential Novelty – formed in May of this year. They covered two Bruno Mars hits and were deemed a fan favorite.
Following the final song, students had a brief period to pick the most successful act. Potential Novelty took the vote and stormed the stage to roaring applause.
The Battle of the Bands joined other student events like open mics and coffee houses in confirming the alma mater’s thesis: Goshen College is ever-singing.