A First Look at the Rites of Spring Battle of the Bands

The Rites of Spring Battle of the Bands provides a great opportunity for local bands to play on a big stage--and for you to discover their music!
The Rites of Spring Battle of the Bands provides a great opportunity for local bands to play on a big stage–and for you to discover their music!

It’s that time of year again at Vanderbilt.  The Student Alumni Board is passing out free shirts at Rand; there are dozens of garbage bins lounging pell-mell on Alumni Lawn; the fraternities are gearing up for their crawfish boils and pig roasts; fierce debate regarding 2 Chainz’ arraignment echoes across campus.  What else could it be but Rites Week?

Love it or hate it (and, as always, there’s been a lot of both emotions in reaction to this year’s lineup), the week of Rites of Spring is the best time for music at Vanderbilt every year.  Though the main event will be an epic spectacle that should trump last year’s in terms of debauchery and Dionysian life force–after all, NEEDTOBREATHE probably played before the most sober Rites crowd ever–my favorite part of the week is the Battle of the Bands, which will take place this Thursday at 7:30 PM in Rand Lounge/Dank New Rand.  The Battle of the Bands is easy to overlook, especially with the winners’ prize being the chance to play on Friday afternoon before most students will want to arrive, but it’s a great showcase of some local talent (including a number of Vanderbilt-based acts) and winning would be a tremendous affirmation for any of the competitors.  And this year, you as an audience member have an opportunity to play a pivotal role in determining the battle’s victor, as the crowd’s vote will account for two-fifths of the final decision (alongside the three judges).  The idea seems to be that the winner should be able to draw a crowd to Rites as early as possible, with the ability to do this on a Thursday night supposedly predictive of the ability to follow suit the next afternoon.  So if you are friends with one or more of the contestants, the most important thing you can do for them is to show up at the battle on Thursday night and bring a pack of friends along for the ride.

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The Faces Behind The Songs

Tin-Pan-South-Logo1

My favorite week of the year is quickly approaching, Although every week in Nashville has it’s fair share of loaded writer’s nights and stellar concerts, one week has a special place in my heart. Songwriters Festival, Tin Pan South, takes place at local venues in Nashville, for a week, every March. The lineup never ceases to disappoint as they utilize 10 of the most intimate venues in Nashville and host two shows a night.  Every night attendees get to watch the songs they all know come to life in a somewhat backwards way. There is something magical about hearing a song stripped down, as it was originally written, and learning the stories behind them. The only way to understand is to experience this yourself! This is my advice and the shows you don’t want to miss (all in my opinion of course).

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Life On The Farm: Bonnaroo Lineup Analysis

Image courtesy of Stereogum

The Coachella lineup gave us a taste of festival season.  For Vandy students, a quality Rites lineup with heavy-hitting headliners kept the hype train rolling.  And last night’s Bonnaroo lineup announcement after a mid-February day that felt like mid-spring has me feeling like festivals should be starting tomorrow.  Bonnaroo, a four-day music festival that is among the nation’s best, is only a one hour drive from Vandy’s campus in Manchester, TN.  It is a must-go for anyone staying in the Nashville metro, and really the greater southeast United States, in the summertime (and a must-go for anyone with the necessary funds to travel from further away).  True to its reputation, this year’s lineup didn’t disappoint, although it does come with one head-scratching omission.

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Artist Spotlight: Emily Hearn

Emily Hearn

Looking for someone to swoon over this Valentine’s Day? What about a song? Fall in love with the sweet melodies of Emily Hearn’s voice. You’ll forget all about your love life as you dive into the music. Emily’s latest single “Found A Heart” from her EP called “Promises” showers love and hope on those of us that are not as fortunately in love as she is. It characterizes the path of her and a guy falling more and more in love up until their wedding day (which is featured in the music video).

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More Than A Taco Bell Commercial

I know you’ve seen it. The boy running from his girlfriends parents house, taco gripped in one hand, jacket in the other, terrified look on his face as you see an angry dad chasing him down the street. There’s one thing you may have not noticed, besides the fact that the Grilled Stuft Nacho is not actually that big, and that is the song playing.  That song is “Evil Friends” by Portugal. The Man off of their latest album Evil Friends. 

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Rites of Spring 2014—Who Might Be Coming?

Image courtesy of Consequence of Sound

In 2011, I predicted that Kid Cudi would headline Rites of Spring, based on the similar success he and Drake were having at the time and Drake’s performance the previous year.  In 2012, I predicted Wiz Khalifa would headline, again based on his break-through hip-hop success that was similar to Drake and Cudi.  I further predicted that MUTEMATH would be coming that year, albeit not as the Friday-night headliner they ended up being, based on their fall, winter, and spring tours all circumventing Nashville while traveling through the southeast (they had to come here sometime).  On the other hand, I failed marvelously at predicting what the 2013 Rites lineup might look like, following my previous trend of looking at breakthrough rap success to peg Kendrick Lamar, who ended up coming for Quake this past fall.  In short, over my four years at Vandy, making Rites artist predictions has become a hobby of mine, much in the same way that people make predictions for Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and so many others of the festivals that have become so popular throughout the country.

Of course, all of these predictions and guesses were made in the relative comfort of my friendgroup, where no one would give me too much grief if I was wildly offbase and drinks would be had in my honor if I happened to be correct.  They’re much more forgiving than the scores that swim the internet waters, but this year I decided to up the stakes by sharing my predictions in a public forum.  Please note that I hold no affiliation with the Music Group or any other arm of the Vanderbilt Programming Board, and that I have no sources for my predictions other than the reasoning presented in my own words to you.  These are a couple of my personal hopes, dreams, and deductions presented to a wide audience, for glory or for shame. [Read more...]