Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spring Semester Lab Bands

(Photo by Beky Smith)
Robert Varner
Ashley Johnston
Last November, Greenville faculty held auditions for the spring semester Lab Bands; out of the auditions, four of the bands are returning from the fall semester and two new bands were welcomed to the GC music department’s CCM experiment. The idea behind the Lab Band program is to bring together several diversified musical groups and give them professional instruction from professors who have been developing one of the nation’s most renowned CCM departments. Bands gain priceless opportunity and the experience could be a potential turning point in their career. Returning bands include Hot Fever, Lowland Sea, Nester Class 5 and Photoside Café. The newbies to Lab Band include Allez and Dressed to Kill.
The members of Hot Fever are lab band veterans - a vivacious group that woos their crowds with their catchy tunes and an energy that keeps you dancing from the first song to the last. The band has gone through several member changes since its commencement last year. Vocalist Dane Boffey, who is credited with writing a majority of the music even before coming to campus, was the original rhythm guitarist when Hot Fever first became a Lab Band three semesters ago. Now the band has only two original members: Dane on vocals and Sarah Whittman providing back-up vocals and keys/synth. The group added four new members at the start of Fall semester ‘08.
Lowland Sea is an alternative/rock band at their best. They are another returning Lab Band and are influenced by Muse, Coldplay and U2. June Sim, vocalist and guitarist, says they will continue to build a live set and play shows on and off campus this year. Lowland Sea has also undergone extensive member changes but still has a positive outlook on the future.
Nester Class 5 is also returning from last semester. They are an energetic band combining vocalist Charlie DeVos’ rap influences with a heavier style of rock, producing sounds reminiscent of both Rage Against the Machine and Family Force 5. Ever since their start, their music has gradually evolved, both technically and in a solid live performance. The band has set out quite ambitiously, trying to produce music that is both fairly foreign to the campus scene as well as hard to create.
Photoside Café is the final returning band this semester. Their distinct combination of acoustic alternative rock accompanied by an atmosphere of overdriven violin, brings to the table music that imitates Dave Matthews Band and John Mayer. Last summer they were signed to Grr Records, based out of Chicago, while performing at Cornerstone Music Festival. With their solid sound and effective use of a non-traditional rock instruments, Photoside Café has another exciting few months to extend their progress and develop within the music business.
Newcomers to Lab Band this semester include Allez and Dressed to Kill. Allez is a band that comes from a very different place from the other lab bands and each member contributes a variety of influences to the music they play. The material they have right now is a mix between progressive rock and jazz. The relatively strong musical influence is jazz and fusion. Dressed to Kill is an energetic metal group that has shredded their way into the hearts of many since 2006.

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