Bands, rappers ‘bring the noise’
Ten artists who fought for the chance to perform at this year’s TigerFest brought rap, rock, blues, reggae and more to Towson this weekend.
“I heard about this event from a few friends and was excited to see how many people came out,” junior and Spanish secondary education major Sarah Hanes said.
At the Campus Activities Board’s [CAB] Bring the Noise event on Saturday, March 8 in Paws the performers were sorted into two categories. One for the six bands and another for the four rappers, and one winner was chosen for each. The performers were judged on audience reaction and participation, quality of talent, originality and stage presence. Rapper K.O. and band The Vens were chosen as the winners and are scheduled to perform on the Friday TigerFest event at the free outdoor festival alongside other DJ’s and cover bands.
“I really enjoyed listening in on [the judges] conversation because I got to hear the reasoning behind everything and it was a tough decision they were really torn on some things,” junior and CAB Programming Chair Griffin Taube said.
Warden, a Montgomery County-based band, was the first to play.
“We have played in Baltimore but never in Towson so we are excited about that,” Towson junior, vocalist and guitarist Cory Cotter said.
The group, made up of Cotter, bassist Brian Harris and drummer Ryan Siever has been performing together for the past six years.
“I would say our style is like ‘90s alternative, alternative rock, jam-band, rock-and-roll, maybe some blues influence, that’s about as specific as I can be,” Harris said.
MiltonJ and the Leftovers, a four-person band from Walkersville, Md. then took the stage. The band described its music as a mix of ‘90s style rock and rap.
“The cool thing about us is that we do move between genres, one song you listen to it will sound very alt rock, very Green Day or power chord heavy, and then we will move to another song that’s very crazy technical stuff,” Towson junior and bassist Edward Hong said.
Hong said that he is excited to perform tonight because had been looking forward to performing at this event since his freshman year.
“We treat every show like it’s our last…we put all we have into every single show we sing our hearts out and I think that’s a big thing we don’t have a lot of good equipment but we have really good synergy because we are constantly practicing together,” Mount St. Mary’s student and vocalist of Milton J and The Leftovers Jose Ludington said.
Next, rapper and winner K.O. took the second, lower stage for his performance. Baltimore-based band The Chance followed.
“We haven’t played a show in a while…but I am pretty excited,” Towson sophomore, vocalist and guitarist Collin Athas said.
This was The Chance’s second time performing at Towson’s band competition for a spot in TigerFest.
“We have one song we are playing for the first time tonight, it’s going to be on our new album so we are really excited about that,” lead guitarist Chaz Brown said.
The band, which described its music as eclectic, also includes drummer Jack O’Connell and bassist Dan Bennett.
“We aren’t one of those bands where we can quickly point to a genre that completely defines us. It’s more that we have some pop-punk songs, some pop-rock songs, we have one song that kind of has some reggae flavor to it,” Brown said.
The second stage then welcomed the rap group Freshmen on Varsity. Following the group’s performance was rapper Ceez Del Conce, Towson junior Cesar Silva, and his band on the upper stage.
“I rap and sing in English and Spanish, that’s what really makes my music unique. It really speaks to a different crowd,” Silva said. “It kind of brings that together…like a melting pot.”
Silva began playing with his friends, acoustic guitarist Ben Conte and electric guitarist Omar Brown. For this event however he asked a few more friends to play with him including musician Jenny-Lynn Bernardo.
“I feel like you don’t really hear a lot of people who put two languages together and really synchronize it so well. I want people to know that hey this guy is really good and he can do it in another language and it still sounds nice,” Silva said. “A lot of the stuff that I talk about is stuff that’s going on in the world. I talk about girls, of course, and what’s better than that?”
Next to perform was the band Waterloo Rats with guitarist and vocalist Pablo Franco.
“We are here to see Pablo’s band and it’s going great,” sophomore and math education major Trystan Denhard said. “They are awesome because they sing in Spanish.”
Winning band The Vens then performed. The band is made up of guitarist and vocalist Mikko Dumadag, a senior graphic design major, and drummer Moy Dumadag. Next was the debut performance of rapper J. Idara, senior psychology Jesse Ajebon.
“Initially I was nervous when I figured out I had qualified because I haven’t been making music for very long and I was like, ‘d*mn okay now I am actually going to have to perform this’,” Ajebon said. “I was nervous but then I really thought about all the time I invested I thought what’s the point of being nervous I should just do it for me because I made the music.”
Ajebon performed with his close friend Leroy Owusu-Sakyi who he has been rapping with for about the past two years.
“I feel like a lot of my music is themed, I try to always have a theme with some of my songs. I have upbeat songs and I also have down tempo songs I try to do a lot of storytelling in my songs,” Ajebon said.
Last, to close the show was band Dave Brandon.
Lead vocalist Dave Brandon, guitarist Chris Pattwell, electric guitarist Tom Masiello and drummer Connor Kishbaugh make up the band, which has never played at Towson before, but it has performed at a few local venues like The Green Turtle and other locations in the D.C. area.
The band draws on many different musical influences.
“That’s something I think is really cool actually we all have our strong influences towards completely different directions and it all kind of comes together,” Pattwell said. “Like Mumford & Sons or The Lumineers, that’s the best way I can describe it but with a lot more electric guitar.”
Paws was crowded for each of the performances and fans of each artist were enthusiastic throughout the night.
“I thought it went really well,” Taube said. “It was a challenge coordinating all those people and I was a little worried about falling behind on time because we didn’t share a lot of equipment but tech and the artists did super awesome today, made it run really smoothly and we had a great turnout so I am pleased with it.”