For just a fleeting moment this past Thursday, Gasson wasn’t the star of O’Neill plaza. Instead of the usual #gassongrams, Boston College students were snapping pictures of their favorite musical performers inside of the main Arts Fest tent, where four finalists from the singer-songwriter competition and three finalists from Battle of the Bands duked it out for a chance to open for Ludacris and an extended play starter kit, with Wynnm Murphy, A&S ’18, taking it all home.
Facing a robust crowd and a panel of judges, Murphy was the first to take the stage for the singer-songwriter competition. She started the show off on a high note with her original “Dear Minnesota” and “Cold.” Her incredible voice, awesome stage presence (who isn’t a fan of corny jokes?), and musical talent—she plays the guitar and harmonica—made her a truly tough act to follow.
Next up was Lucas Allen, A&S ’16, ironically singing his song “Cure” while plagued with the common cold. Luckily, his voice seemed to be unaffected. He delivered a fantastic and endearing performance. With his shades and his cool and eclectic musical style, Lucas proved himself a strong contender.
Meghan and Katie Kelleher, LSOE ’16 and CSOM ’18 respectively, followed. The two sisters have been performing together for as long as they can remember. They collaborated on two songs, “The Rookie” and “Physiognomy,” both of which speak to the female experience in powerful ways. These lyrics combined with their strong, clear voices with a bit of a twang made it clear that these two could hold their own among the competition.
Last but certainly not least was Chris Paterno, performing two of his original songs, ”From Me, With All My Love” then “Morning Light.” Chris’ vocal range and rhythm on the guitar were impressive, and he even played around with looping, creating a unique sound that hadn’t yet been heard in the competition.
The venue soon became a battleground. The three finalists for the Battle of the Bands were competing for a chance to open for Ludacris at Modstock on Thursday. First up was Lucid Soul, who took the stage by storm in pajamas, as per usual. BC’s favorite and most accomplished jam band gave the crowd its usual show full of tangential solos and grooving choruses It looks like James Farrell, A&S ’15, Ted Faust, A&S ’15, Andrew Bishop, A&S ’15, and John Mahoney, graduate of Berklee, are proof that once you find your groove, it’s quite a treat.
Infidel Castro followed that remarkable performance with some tunes of their own. What stood out about this band was its range—it plays around with different styles, making each song more interesting than the last. With John Guzzi, A&S ’15 on guitar, Dan Miller, A&S ’15, Dan Hartel, A&S ’15, on drums, and Shravan Challapalli, A&S ’16, on vocals, they’re definitely a fun group to watch, and I have to say I (ironically) turned into a believer. Infidel Castro skews more toward rock than the other groups. The group has more rage, and it was channeled well through a three-song set.
The final performance of the night was Juice, and it was incredibly refreshing. Ben Stevens’, CSOM ’17, soulful voice wooed the crowd. Christian Rougeau, A&S ’17, did what he does best on his violin and spat out a few verses. Kamau Burton, A&S ’17, proved himself on the guitar and on the mic, and Chris Vu, A&S ’17, had a few notable solos on the keyboard, just to name a few. By the time this group took the stage, the tent was nearly full. Its crew of sophomore male groupies filled the rest of the tent. Juice took full advantage of its now-warmed-up crowd, asking everyone to stand up and dance along with them. Of course everyone did—who isn’t a Juice groupie? The band closed with its rising staple “Where I Wanna Be,” which in the end proved hard to beat.
After some brief deliberation, the judges cast their votes, and Juice emerged victorious for the second year in a row—maybe bloodied and bruised a bit—but even better than it was last year.
BC’s Best really rang true to its name, as this event showcased some of BC’s most talented kids on campus. It attracted one of the largest crowds Arts Fest could boast, and the winners will attract even bigger crowds now, with the help of their incredible prizes.
Featured Image by Alex Stanley / Heights Staff