Age doesn’t always translate to wisdom, prowess, or ability, and Saturday night’s Student Showcase, co-hosted by Naked Music Magazine, followed that ponderance strictly.
Start off with this modern addagge: a PA system, does not a venue make. Held in Kalamazoo College’s Hicks Banquet Hall, someone decided that stuffing five or so speakers in the back of the long, narrow room in front of a half-foot stage for oral presentation made for great acoustics.
I’ve visited stuffy bars in my time, but at least I could hear most of the bands over the chit-chat of bar flies.
That venomously declared, the bands themselves were less poisonous--though of the five acts, most audience-members tributed their attention to the taco bar and the button-making table.
Crammed on to the miniscule stage, a rocking-brass group opened the night to some 100 K -students, pulling off one of the more complex sets of the night. It was refreshing to see something different than the one-man, singer-songwriter or 4 piece garage rock performances that typically adorn open-mic-like events.
So hey, why not follow it up with a one-man, singer-songwriter thing.. .David Daily crooned his way through covers of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and other 60’s sweet-things that swooned some away from the snacks and crafts. Disappointing, however, was Daily’s aversion to crossing lines that caused intrigue. He was followed by a 5-piece rock set that “had a really Minnesota feel,” according to one other showgoer, but didn’t distinguish itself by doing much more than sit down occasionally to let their female vocalist sing with their lead guitar player.
Thankfully, Andres Villafone and buddy Ken, played a duo-acoustic set that provided needed respite. The played a set of backgrounded, Spanish-inspired guitar ramblings and other twitching twiddles that kept many quiet with eyes glazed at the stage. Void of vocals, the two demonstrated talent without the apparently needed leap from someone-elses work. Basically it was pleasant to not hear a cover.
Kingmedian (4-piece rock) closed. Declaring, which I say instead of ‘covering’ because their vocals followed an a-tonal trend, Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times,” “Weezer’s “El Scorcho” and other covers. While it was getting late into the 2-hour show, numbers dwindled and jaws remained clenched until the band navigated safely into their space-fuzz original songs “Hey Brother” and “Wear Another Skin.”
Otherwise I agreed when host and band-member Colin Smith pleaded for someone to get lead singer Camden “off the mic.”