If you were in the MacVittie College Union on Thursday Feb. 4, you would have heard music sounding throughout the building—and not the usual soundtrack playing over the loudspeakers. Instead, live music was performed in the Union Ballroom by Geneseo students during this year’s Battle of the Bands. The competition featured seven performances: Donner Dance Party, Shelly the Cat Collective, Full Body, The Scarecrow Show, Allison Altschiller—who was the only solo performer of the night—Ponder the Giraffe and Woodrow Chillson. All performances ranged in style and genre and the bands competed not only for the first place prize of $500, but also the opportunity to be the opening act at the spring concert.
All of the seats set up in front of the stage were filled, but by the end of the night, those who stayed for the whole concert were up dancing, swaying and clapping along to the music. With a relaxed and conversational vibe filling the ballroom, the audience members seemed to feel welcome at the event. Not only were the bands’ usual fans in attendance to show their support, but also interested music lovers who were just there to see something new on the Geneseo campus.
The sounds varied from Shelly the Cat Collective’s mellow and quirky ukulele and electric guitar combo to Full Body’s hard rock jams. The well known Donner Dance Party opened with their funkier half-math sound, while Woodrow Chillson—the band that closed the show—played more classic rock ballads that evoked nostalgia of a time past.
A couple covers of popular songs were played, but most of the performances were of entirely original music. Shelly the Cat Collective even played a song dedicated to the school: “SUNY Geneseo.” The song mentions feelings and landmarks that are familiar to students, such as being lost in physics class, suitemate troubles and The Statesmen. Woodrow Chillson’s cover of Barenaked Ladies’ hit “Old Apartment” ended the concert on a high note and excited people to vote for their favorites.
At the end, eager attendees were given ballots to vote for the winner and the clear crowd favorite—alternative rock band Ponder the Giraffe—won the big prize. Ponder the Giraffe is popular around the Geneseo campus, playing casual weekend shows at local venues along with fellow bands Donner Dance Party and Woodrow Chillson. It’s been a big year for Ponder the Giraffe; the band embarked on a mini-tour this past January and had one of its songs played on a Buffalo radio station. The win was just another shining accolade for the group.
Congratulations were in order for the members of Ponder the Giraffe, but there seemed to be no hard feelings between performers. The Geneseo music community is known for its extremely supportive nature—there is room for any talent to make their way into the spotlight, just as many of the bands that performed at Battle of the Bands have done.
Although Ponder the Giraffe will open the spring concert, all the performers played well at this great platform for some of Geneseo’s most talented and creative musicians to share their work.