For the 27th year in a row, due to a collaboration between the Union Program Council and the Goodnow Hall Governing Board, the OPUS Battle of the Bands competition took place in the front lawn of Goodnow Hall. In all, six bands performed at the concert, each group bringing a unique style. For three hours, Goodnow was alive with music, bringing in curious onlookers from around campus.
First was the band Vineyard. Composed of three K-State students and two who attend Manhattan Christian College, Vineyard brought energy to their performance by mixing in dueling guitars, banjo and dual harmonies to their set. At one point, the band even incited some audience participation, having the crowd provide some backing vocals to the chorus of their final song.
“We thought our set went well,” said Jeremy Cline, guitarist for the band and sophomore in business administration at K-State. Establishing themselves as a staple in the local Manhattan music scene, band members said they were happy to hear about the opportunity to audition for the competition.
“We wanted a chance to appeal to kids around campus, and just have an opportunity to play,” said Hunter Owen, drummer and sophomore in business entrepreneurship at K-State.
The second performer was Chase Fortune, a solo act who is a senior in mass communication. Fortune set up all of his different instruments close to him, so that he could record each part through a looper, essentially allowing him to create full bodied songs as he went.
“I liked the fact [that he] played a number of different instruments, and that he used a looper and used it well,” said Hunter Elliott, junior in construction science who is a member of Goodnow’s HGB and a judge of the competition.
The highlight of Fortune’s set came when he dedicated his last song, “I Will Always,” to his mom and her fiancé, who had just become engaged the night before.
Following Fortune was a five piece funk band by the name of Hard Way Out, who had the crowd snapping their fingers and rocking their shoulders to the music. Hard Way Out featured much improvisation during each of their songs, including rousing solos on guitar, saxophone and trumpet.
“[Hard Way Out] were pretty good,” Dalton Neal, sophomore in open option, said. “They knew how to play some funky jams.”
The fourth band to perform was The Clearing. According to the band, the members first came together after having met at a “Watermelon and Sweet Tea Party.” Delivering an emotional, lyrically driven performance, the folky three piece used a blend of piano, guitar and mandolin melodies to compliment a bevy of vocal harmony throughout the set. In the crowd was Faith Loepp, junior in kinesiology, who, in addition to being friends with the band, provided violin tracks on two songs off of their most recent EP.
“The Clearing cannot be described in one simple musical term, because it’s not only through their music, but also through their lives that they display true joy,” Loepp said.
The second to last band to perform was Joshua Jay and the Nighthawks. Equipped with beards galore, a number of dueling solos between fiddle and mandolin, and the relentless energy of Joshua Jay himself, the folk rock band had people in the crowd dancing during their entire performance. Their set was capped of with a folky rendition of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.”
As night fell the final band, The Carney Encore, hit the stage. Dressed in ties and suit vests, they brought a hard rock energy to their performance, bearing some resemblance to that of the Foo Fighters. Bringing a well-sized crowd close to the stage, The Carney Encore jammed for an energetic 16 minute set, then exited the stage to cheers from the crowd.
After the performances, an anxious crowd huddled in the brisk October night, awaiting the results of the competition. For a few moments, the judges conferred and compared their results. After thanking the several sponsors, the results were announced: in third place was The Clearing, in second was Vineyard and first was The Carney Encore. Cash prizes of $100, $150 and $200 went to The Clearing, Vineyard and The Carney Encore, respectively.
“I think [the Battle of the Bands concert] went very well,” said Tyler Hieber, sophomore in mechanical engineering and the current president of Goodnow’s HGB. “It was a very well put together event and the music was great. Overall, it was a great success.”
While a decision has not been made about whether OPUS will be held once more on Goodnow’s lawn, Hieber said he remained confident that UPC would collaborate with them again next year.
“I would look forward to UPC partnering with us again,” Hieber said. “[Goodnow] is a great location, it was great to partner with them and it goes a long way for Goodnow residents, as well as the university.”