IPR Spring 2009 Student Music Showcase: New talents emerge, old favorites continue to impress
IPR’s Spring 2009 Student Music Showcase was a night to remember. Thursday May 21st was a sparkling spring afternoon, and the Fine Line Music Café was bustling with activity, with student acts setting up on stage and checking their sound. Anticipation filled the air as performers tried to remain calm by relaxing in a greenroom that has served host to legendary acts in the past. By 7PM the doors to the club were opened and concert-goers began to filter into the club while DJ B-RADY got everybody moving with some serious beats.
By 8PM the sidewalk outside the club emptied and the room was full of IPR supporters and fans alike. The music kicked off with the pop-punk trio and first-time showcase performers Touch Me! Touch You! The group did not disappoint the anxious crowd, and it didn’t take long for the dance floor to fill with folks wanting to get closer to the action. The band looked very comfortable on stage, with guitarist/vocalist Dan Amsden gesturing to the crowd, drummer Austin Day laying down solid beats and tasty fills, and bassist/keys Adam Byer supplying a solid groove and memorable riffs. To say the least, it was a sweaty and passionate environment for all participants.
Next on the lineup was first-time Showcase performer Trey Palmer, a.k.a. Wrecknificent, and he put on a sick solo rap show filled with interludes and storytelling. Teaching life lessons with his music, Wreck warned everyone of the evils that come with money, the importance of respecting the swagger, and the values of remembering your past. By the time he was through with his set, he had everyone on their feet with their hands in the air.
Now that the party was rolling, it was time for a veteran act. Local reggae phenoms Dred-I-Dread took the stage with IPR student Hoku Aki on the drums. It was obvious that this band was composed of professional musicians, because the rhythm section was phlawless and the guitar textures were superb. The music moved beyond traditional reggae, with the players incorporating rock’n’roll subtleties into the songs. Vocalist Pee Wee Dread was a ball of energy onstage, voice never floundering while doing knee lifts and going shirtless. After the last tune, Aki left the stage with his peers chanting his name.
Outside the club, the sun had gone down, and things started to get darker. Things got darker on stage as well with a performance from Brothers Loyalty. Distorted guitars, double bass licks, screaming vocals and head banging tunes turned the room into a lively mosh pit. This band was no one-trick-pony however, and at times proved they could be ultra-melodic as well. The group had two IPR students on board, with Dan Rau on drums and Austin Tang on bass, and it seemed the group had a very strong bond, like a band of loyal brothers. At one point they even did a huddle on stage and performed a morale-boosting chant.
Next was the Thundertones. This band was a favorite from the last Student Showcase, and they managed to get back into the lineup for an encore performance. Still a great presence on stage, the band has drastically improved musically over the past few months. Bob Hooper and Erik Lamp were both strong on the horns, Tane Graves and Paul Mullany cranked the guitars, and Wes Johnson was a great addition on drums. Always a group for stage antics, the band even brought out a person dressed in a chicken costume to close their set with, of course, the chicken song. It is rumored that the person in the chicken costume was actually an IPR student. Keep your eye on the gossip blogs.
Closing out the night was the surprise headliner Chris Carlyle, and the IPR-alum and his band did not disappoint. Dressed in sunglasses and black suits, they brought a set chalk-full of upbeat pop originals and covers that showcased Chris’s phenomenal vocals and acoustic guitar. Fleshing out his band was a cast of IPR students of both past and current, with alumnus Josh Ebel on guitar, current students Molly Murray (who is also IPR’s AES president)on keyboard and Ben Anderton on bass. There were even guest performers, with IPR faculty member Walter Chancellor performing on sax and alumnus Erin Stubbs helping with backup vocals.
All in all the show was one for the ages. Students Services would like to thank all the students, staff and faculty that showed up and made the night great. Special thanks to student MC Shelby Fisher and members of the SAB for their help coordinating the event. And finally, thanks to the student performers who showcased their talent. See you next time!
Written by: Tom Hilde