On Campus, Arts

BC’s Best Hosts a Small, Yet Energized Audience

It’s all fun and games until talented bands and singer-songwriters get serious, competing to be crowned Boston College’s Best. Obstacle Monkey and Whistle Rock took home the win at this year’s competition in the band and singer-songwriter categories, respectively. 

BC’s Best is an annual music competition and a part of the Arts Festival. The competition was hosted in the Mod Lot on Thursday night with bands competing to be the opening act for Neon Trees at Modstock

Competing in BC’s Best were the top three bands and top three singer-songwriters of Battle of the Bands, which took place earlier this month. 

The night opened with the singer-songwriter category, kicked off by Julia Piccard, MCAS ’26. The solo act stood in the center of the stage, showcasing her acoustic guitar and soft vocals. 

Piccard sang mostly original songs, but included a cover of “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane. The audience swayed to her mellow melodies as she ended with an original song, which she named her “happy song.”

Following was singer-songwriter ​​Melina Piperis, MCAS ’26. Also performing with an acoustic guitar, Piperis played a mix of original songs and covers, including songs from Alvvays and Amy Winehouse. Her beautifully husky voice charmed the audience, garnering big applause at the end of her set.

Initially, the crowd didn’t look too promising, perhaps because it was late on a Thursday night. By the time the third musical act, Whistle Rock, took the stage, however, the crowd began to grow. 

Whistle Rock featured a hint of country to its music, featuring its notable harmonica instrumentals performed by Andrew Vagra, MCAS ’24. Originally meant to compete under the band category, the three-man act was missing its drummer during the previous Battle of the Bands competition, resulting in the group performing under the singer-songwriter category instead. 

Lead singer Colin Martin, MCAS ’24, and guitarist Cole Dumas, MCAS ’24, started with some jokes, before kicking off their performance with energy and passion. 

When Whistle Rock finished, a large group of audience members departed from the Mod Lot tent, leaving only a few seats up front occupied. By the time the next band finished its sound check, however, more people filed in. 

The first performance under the band category was Reigning Scarlet. Formed back in September 2022 with Daniel Kabanovsky, bassist and MCAS ’24, meeting Ian Bourgin, rhythm guitarist and MCAS ’25, in music class. 

The band has no fixed genre, mixing characteristics of hard rock, alternative, and blues into its music. The group attempted to engage the crowd by motivating them to clap, stomp, and finally stand up. While some audience members joined in, the overall energy in the tent was minimal at this point. 

Throughout its set, the group’s energy rubbed off on the crowd, lifting the mood. Reigning Scarlet wowed the audience with loud drums from Jack Daggenhurst, MCAS ’24, impressive vocals from Alexandra Bates, MCAS ’26, and passionate hair flips from guitarists Bourgin and Colin Cui, MCAS ’25. The band played original songs, including “Nightmares” and “Serotonin Summer.”

The second band was Obstacle Monkey, previously named Chicken Liver Testimony. As part of its warm-up, some of the members took off their pants and shoes, revealing shorts underneath. 

Obstacle Monkey, composed of band members Cormac Delaney, MCAS ’25, Michael McKane, MCAS ’25, William A’Hearn, CSOM ’25, Owen Stannard, MCAS ’25, and Charlie Schulz, MCAS ’25, managed to get the audience off their seats and gather enthusiastically at the edge of the stage to dance. 

The final band to take the stage was The Town, composed of Mitch Gamma, CSOM ’25, Alex Murphy, MCAS ’25, Shawn Gentilcore, CSOM ’25, and Kyle Cedrone, MCAS ’26. The indie rock band warmly greeted the crowd and asked them how they were doing tonight. The three-man act was decked out in all denim, referencing the movie Footloose at the beginning of their set. 

The Town ended the night with its original song “Second Time Around,” featuring a major, extended guitar solo from lead guitarist Gamma. The audience members jumped up and down throughout the performance, waving their hands excitedly in the air. 

Despite a seemingly unpromising start to the night, the crowd grew more passionate and excited as the show continued. Each of the singer-songwriters and bands gave it their all, exhibiting their musicality and talents. 

After some deliberation, the three judges of the night landed on a winner for each category: Whistle Rock for singer-songwriter and Obstacle Monkey for the band category—the latter of which will open 2024’s Modstock.  

April 28, 2024

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