Student performers brought their best to BC’s Best, an Arts Fest event that determines the winners of both Singer Songwriter and Battle of the Bands. With four performers competing in the Singer Songwriter portion and three bands competing in the Battle of the Bands, the tent on O’Neill Plaza was filled with the sound of the students’ original compositions for nearly two and a half hours on Thursday.
Mac Porter, MCAS ’21, kicked off the Singer Songwriter portion of the night with two original songs: “Other People’s Flowers” and “Too Young to Be Alone.” The talented singer exhibited impressive control of his voice as he worked his way through the crowd-pleasing second song, during which some audience members sang along to the lyrics “I’m trying to tell you pretty girl / We’re too young to be alone.”
Next to take the stage was Peyton Spencer, MCAS ’18. The folk phenom charmed the audience with calming acoustic riffs and her soft voice. Spencer opted out of the usual sad tone of folk songs for an optimistic mood during “Gravedigger.” The artist concluded her two song set with “Coffee Cans,” a piece with steady guitar chords and lyrics about her two favorite things: coffee cans and Michigan.
Stavros Piperis, MCAS ’19, also showcased his illustrious talents during his three song set at the event. During “Hands,” Piperis conveyed the dark song about being wronged by a lover with a distinct intensity in his voice and fast guitar strumming. The artist slowed the tempo down for “Delicate,” a song that allowed the artist to showcase his range. Piperis weaved in and out of the lyrics of the building broken-hearted ballad “I Remember” with John Mayer-like vulnerability and control.
Liz McGovern, MCAS ’18, who recently released her debut self-titled EP Elizabeth, followed up with two effortless original songs. The artist wrote the first to cope with all of the chaos in the world right now, and it repeated the line “swear I’m gonna care.” McGovern wowed the crowd with “Beautiful Man,” an intense ballad that featured a beautiful longing in the singer’s unique voice. Timeless lyrics like “It feels like a nightmare / But tastes like a dream” demonstrated the artist’s incredible writing abilities. The song ended with a dramatic touch of low humming, leaving the crowd speechless.
The event then moved to the Battle of the Bands portion of the night and featured three student bands: Shady Lady, Phenom V and Extreme Sounds, and Funky Giant. The bands competed for a chance to open for B.o.B at Modstock next Thursday.
Shady Lady got the event off to an energetic start with an enthralling four song set. The band opened with two jazzy rock songs, during which drummer Alex Eichler, MCAS ’20, donned a long electric blue wig. Throughout the set, keyboardist Katie Kelleher, CSOM ’18; bassist Alex Moran, MCAS ’19; and vocalist Nicole Rodger, MCAS ’19, harmonized and demonstrated the new band’s remarkable chemistry on stage. Lead guitarist Rachel Moon, MCAS ’19, stole the show in the second half of the set with electric guitar solos, performing her final solo in the middle of the crowd. Caroline Rooney, MCAS ’19 provided the steady rhythm guitar for the set, complementing Moon’s unrestrained energy well. The band was pleased with their set and amazed at how well they were able to mesh despite the band’s young age.
“I’m really proud of how far we’ve come in the past two months of being together,” Eichler said.
Rapper Phenom V, otherwise known as Emmanuel Laguerre, WCAS ’18, was accompanied by his band Extreme Sounds for his high energy five song set. Combining traditional hip-hop beats with atypical instruments for the genre, including a violin and electric guitar, made for a fun set that showcased the artist’s creativity. The artist performed songs that relied on lyrics about deeply personal experiences, including a stint of homelessness during the artist’s time at Boston College. Laguerre and his band debuted the artist’s newest song, “Wake Up,” which was released on Spotify on April 26 and ended the set with a party anthem titled “The Weekend.”
The 2016 Battle of the Bands winner Funky Giant closed the night with a four song set. The band’s first song set a groovy tone with sonic keyboard and basslines. The lyric “They don’t know how to love” comprised the repetitive chorus which was presented with effortless cool by vocalist Jaclyn Chan, MCAS ’18. Bassist Nick Rocchio-Giordano, MCAS ’18, provided the heartbeat of the band’s funk throughout the set with his impeccable basslines, while Matt Chilton, CSOM ’18, remained calm and cool while delivering quality guitar riffs. The final song of the set took on a Santana feel with sultry latin rock guitar intro. Drummer Mario Borges, MCAS ’18, spoke a few spanish words into the mic prior to a skillfully tight drum solo.
Host Alex Waldner, MCAS ’19, entertained the crowd with a hilarious ukulele song about the artist’s precarious college journey while the judges (Paul Dagnello, Office of University Communications; Emma Hardy, MCAS ’20; Patrick Halm, MCAS ’21; and Shan Rizwan, MCAS ’21) tallied up the scores from the night. Waldner concluded the event with the announcement that McGovern won the Singer Songwriter portion, and Shady Lady won Battle of the Bands and will be opening at this year’s Modstock. Shady Lady reflected on their sudden claim to fame at BC following the announcement.
“[Before the set] Caro [Caroline Rooney] in the huddle was like, ‘Oh my gosh look at us, we just started this, we made it first round, and now here we are,’” Moran said.
“It’s surreal,” Rooney concluded.
Featured Image by Kaylie Ramirez / Associate Arts Editor