After four straight years of Harvard-Yale musical warfare, the Cantabs will be performing alone in an concert featuring three Harvard bands, replacing what would have been the fifth-annual Battle of the Bands.
In the face of tradition, the Harvard Undergraduate Council and the Currier House Council teamed up to put on Friday night’s show at the Fishbowl in Currier House. The concert will feature what organizers have said are the some of the most popular bands on campus.
Headliners Chester French, who describe themselves as a rock band heavily influenced by classic Brit-pop, go on at 9 p.m. Six demos posted on the band’s Web site reveal an interesting mix between a college group and a wedding band. That site also features a flattering quote from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “These guys are funny, engaging, and a blast to listen to. Think of Gershwin and Cole Porter meeting the Beatles.”
There will be two openers, each playing a half-hour set, beginning at 8. The first, the Dramadairy, has been described as a punk band.
“We’re always sort of battling,” Dramadairy lead singer Leon Neyfakh said. “I don’t think we’ll ever win any popularity contests because we’re somewhat idiosyncratic.”
At 8:30 are hip-hop artists Rich Power with MC Mikal. According to a recent press release, Power has earned the praise of rap heavyweights the Roots and Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan.
Finance Policy chair and Currier Representative Samita Mannapperuma said there was no effort made to include Yale bands in the concert, especially once Harvard’s biggest groups signed on to play. She and the Currier masters and committees began planning the Harvard-only concert, disregarding the battle.
“There’s nothing wrong with Battle of the Bands, but we had hoped not to have a competitive aspect to it,” Justin Hurwitz, Chester French’s keyboard player, said. “We pride ourselves on writing non-stop sets and creating a non-stop continuum of energy.”
The goal of the concert, he added, is to give students something to do before the Friday night parties begin at 11. Currier House is located in the Harvard Quad where many of the parties will be held.
Mannapperuma said she expects a turnout of between 100 and 200 people and that she hopes it will be on the higher end. To make up for the missing battle, she added, Yale and Harvard’s glee clubs are scheduled to perform against each other during The Game’s halftime show.
Yale Student Activities Committee member Tre Borden ’06 — who helped plan last year’s Harvard-Yale festivities, including the Battle of the Bands — said he was very disappointed with the outcome of the concert and this year’s Game festivities on the whole.
“They didn’t really try and involve us the in same way we tried to involve them, and it’s a shame,” he said. “I’m frustrated with the weekend overall.”
But Borden said he does not think this year’s absence of the Battle of the Bands will terminate the tradition.
“I think [YSAC will] definitely continue it next year,” Borden said. “When we had the Fusion dance we started a new tradition, and we kept up old ones.”
Lexi Benaim ’06, the lead singer of the Harlem Shakes, was similarly mournful.
“I don’t know why they’re not having a battle,” Benaim said. “The Shakes would have rocked the pants off of Cambridge.”