Washburn musicians compete for opening act at 150th concert

Mark Feuerborn

Washburn University hosted a Battle of the Bands for singers, rappers, musicians, and bands that have current Washburn students in their grouping to compete in on March 10. The winning contestant(s) would be selected as the opening act for the Washburn 150th Anniversary Concert, which has been announced to feature main act Hot Chelle Rae.

Six groupings entered into the competition, including local acts such as The Swift Kicks, Grizz Lee and Brail Watson. The event was organized with the two solo singers performing first, followed by the two rappers, and then wrapping up with the two full bands performing last. Each grouping performed two to four songs, and was critiqued by a panel of judges who would determine the winner.

Rapper-singer Brail Watson expressed satisfaction with the overall success of the event.

“There were a few hiccups with sound, and maybe a dress rehearsal would have helped there, but I think the show itself still went well regardless. I was happy with the support from the crowd. They did a great job across the board! Good job to everyone involved, and those that put it together,” said Watson.

Each act brought a unique sound and experience to the audience. Local band The Great Alexanders told jokes in between songs, and Brail Watson shared some of the personal experience and ideas behind his music. Local rapper Grizz Lee even went as far as to give out free T-Shirts sporting his logo in the midst of his performance.

Notable songs performed included a cover of the Black Keys’ song “Lonely Boy” played by The Swift Kicks, Grizz Lee’s iTunes single “Wanna Get Down”, and Brail Watson’s favorite song to perform, “Question of the Day”.

Skyler Lantz, an attendee at the concert, was impressed with the performers, but thinks more people would have attended if word had gotten around faster.

“I only knew about it like fifteen minutes before it happened, so it could have been advertised better. But the bands I saw were pretty talented,” said Lantz.

Grizz Lee, whose real name is Derek Montgomery, expressed happiness with his performance, and agreed with Lantz on the turnout.

“Not as many people showed up as should’ve shown up, but that being said, it was dope. There was a lot of energy, it was a lot of fun, and everyone was having a blast. It was awesome,” said Grizz Lee.

At the end of the night, the judges announced the winner of the Battle of the Bands to be The Swift Kicks. Winning the competition means that the band will now get the chance to perform as the opening act in the Washburn 150th Anniversary Concert, alongside Hot Chelle Rae. The 150th Anniversary Concert, also being called “WU Stock” is set to happen April 18th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Entry to the show is $5 a ticket with Washburn ID and $20 for the community.