Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Music for the masses: WMUA’s Battle of the Bands

Mesa Verde earns the winning title at WMUA’s Battle of the Bands
Jonathan Shi
Mesa Verde, the Battle of the Bands’ winners, playing their set.

On March 29, Five College students visited The Drake in downtown Amherst to see local bands show off their talents at WMUA’s Battle of the Bands. Unlike prior shows, this semester’s was sold out, and The Drake and WMUA were not able to sell tickets at the door. This show’s lineup included bands of various genres, such as Bellwether, Midnight Rambler, Dead River Company, Imp Say Glyph, Larry Bird’s Orphans and Mesa Verde.

First up was Bellwether, a dream-rock band from Smith College. Members include Eleanor Gallay on guitar and vocals, Hala Anderson on drums, Nusche MacDonald on bass, Tomoko Hida on violin and Jess Isler on saxophone. The band started out the night with a cover of “Linger” by The Cranberries. Gallay’s vocals strongly resembled Dolores O’Riordan, the original band’s lead singer. The rest of the set included “Combat Baby” by Metric, a soothing original song called “Sally’s Disco” and “Take Me to the River” by Talking Heads.

Midnight Rambler’s Aeneas Strozier. (Jonathan Shi)

Next was Midnight Rambler, a collective made up of students from Amherst College, UMass Amherst and Hampshire College. The music of Midnight Rambler is a mix of traditional bluegrass, folk originals and Americana interpretations of indie classics. Members include Amherst College student Winton Garrelts on mandolin, UMass Amherst student Aeneas Strozier on upright bass and Hampshire College student Will “Wolfie” Krebs on banjo. Midnight Rambler’s setlist included “Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms” (a traditional bluegrass song), “Ballad Of Big Nothing” by Elliot Smith, an original by Will Krebs called “I’m Not Sure” and “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star.

Third on the lineup was Dead River Company, a punk band from UMass. Members include Brendan O’Loughlin on drums, Micah Slade on guitar, Julia Adams on bass and Kaliska Wiley on vocals. The band played a set of all original songs:“Nightmare on Fearing Street” (a song dedicated to UMass), “Chicken Out,” “Repent” and “Dead River.”

Next up was Imp Say Glyph, a psychedelic and experimental rock band from Hampshire College. Members of the band include Nate Fusillo on guitar/synthesizer/vocals, Mila Dorji on guitar and vocals, Cameron Mitchell on drums and Alex Villalobos on bass. The band’s techno-inspired original songs inspired a mosh pit in the audience. The band’s setlist included “Cooder Sovereign (the Coin),” “Let the Hounds be Hogs,” a ghostly ballad called “All Crying on the Sanskrit Front” and “Steam in My Otter.”

Crowd dances along to WMUA’s Battle of the Bands show. (Jonathan Shi)

The next band was Larry Bird’s Orphans, a UMass folk group. The group performed a mix of country and blues originals, along with a cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey.” Members of the band include Garrett Silveira and Callum Burgess on guitar and vocals, Aidan Sabine on keys and vocals and Jasper Grant on upright bass.

Lastly, and certainly not least, were the winners of the night, Mesa Verde. This salsa/funk/Cuban group won the audience’s votes by playing “Bilongo” by Eddie Palmieri and “Bacalao Con Pon” by Irakere. With students from UMass Amherst, Hampshire College and Amherst College, members included Camuel Hart on drums, Aeneas Strozier on upright bass, Kaisar Perry on conga drums, Bodhi Liveright on percussion, Daniel Flores Garcia on guitar/vocals/percussion, Mathew Mueller on keyboard and vocals, Ian Behrstock on trumpet, Camila Bonilla on tenor saxophone, Troy Rinker on trombone and Allie Ho on vocals.

Mesa Verde will be playing WMUA’s Spring Concert in May.

Paige Hanson can be reached at [email protected] and followed on X @Paige_Hanson1.

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