“Rock isn’t about getting an A. The Sex Pistols never won anything,” said Kevin Alexander Clark, while playing Freddy in the 2003 Nickelodeon film “School of Rock” after the ensemble of students lost a Battle of the Bands competition.
It may be that music is not about winning. But the winners of Yale’s own Battle of the Bands competition might disagree, as they will gain the opportunity to open for Spring Fling acts Lil Uzi Vert and Anna Lunoe.
On April 6, eight student acts will compete in the annual Battle of the Bands — a competition that determines the opening performances at the Spring Fling festival. This year, the competition will be held from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. at St. Anthony Hall. On Wednesday, April 3, the Spring Fling Committee announced the acts that will compete for performance slots. Three DJs — dj juliana, moong!rl and DJing — and five musical acts — Xavier Washington, Billy BOAT, Vape Naesh, TRØPIC and La Orquesta Tertulia — will perform on Saturday.
“We are particularly excited about the variety of performers that we have set for Saturday — we have everything from a salsa band to a DJ duo to a rapper,” said Caleigh Propes ’20, YCC events director. “The event should bring a diverse crowd with a lot of energy.”
In order to be chosen for the Battle of the Bands competition, possible performance groups were required to send samples to the Spring Fling Committee for review. Yet the final decision will be determined by an audience vote after Saturday’s event. The DJ groups will compete for one 15-minute set, which will take place in between the three 30-minute sets allotted for other musical acts.
Juliana Fan ’20, otherwise known as dj juliana, specializes in mixing girl pop — a style that includes artists such as Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Janelle Monae, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ariana Grande. Fan noted that she believes people “repress” their love for girl pop, and she seeks to break down the idea that anyone is too cool to enjoy the genre.
Elaine Lou ’19, who is performing under the pseudonym moong!rl, is an economics major and a member of the women and non-binary people-of-color DJ collective called Miss/chief. Miss/chief also includes Raquel Bräu Díaz ’18, Katharine Wang ’19, Edwina Kisanga ’16 and a member of the Wesleyan University class of 2018, Kafilah Muhammad. Because of Lou’s participation in Miss/chief, she may have to perform at a gig that conflicts with the Battle of the Bands competition. Still, Lou emphasized that if the scheduling works in her favor, she is “excited to play a set exposing people to great music they’ve maybe never tried listening to before.”
“I’ve had a blast DJing with [Miss/chief] both around New Haven and New York,” Lou said. “I DJ mostly underground house, techno and breakbeat, but can spin funk, disco and other types of electronic music as well. I’m not a DJ that uses flashy drops or transitions — I believe in strong flow and progression in a mix.”
The final DJ group, DJing, is a duo that specializes in hip-hop, trap music and PBR&B — a term used by some music journalists to describe a stylistic alternative to contemporary R&B that has origins in rock and electronic dance music.
The other musical acts competing span various genres and styles. Xavier Washington ’20, who previously held performances in Yale spaces as a solo artist, focuses on genres such as R&B, soul, funk, pop and gospel.
Julian Fraser ’20, who goes by the performance name Billy BOAT, describes himself as a “traditional rapper with a few quirks.” Fraser, a political science major, began rapping in middle school and released an EP titled “From Small Canoes to the Big Blue” in July 2018.
“I have been playing around with a few lineups,” Fraser said. “‘LOOTY’ and ‘Nitty Gritty’ will certainly be in the mix, but I’d like to leave my other songs out as a surprise. If I can brighten up just one person’s night, then I’ll consider that to be a successful set.”
The final three performances are bands rather than solo performances. Vape Naesh, whose name comes from the internet meme Vape Nation, is a pop punk ensemble. The band describes themselves as “blink-182 or Modern Baseball, but with more homework and some nice feminine energy to balance things out.”
TRØPIC is the brainchild of Baltazar Lora ’22. TRØPIC’s music incorporates produced elements into the traditional four-piece instrumentation and is influenced by many genres — including hip-hop, jazz, tropical rhythms and electronic pop. The band’s set will include a combination of original songs, spanning from indie rock to hip-hop.
The final ensemble is La Orquesta Tertulia, a salsa and merengue ensemble that seeks to “get the audience to dance.” La Orquesta Tertulia was established in 2015, and they describe themselves as Yale’s first and only Latin band.
St. Anthony Hall is located at 483 College St.
Rianna Turner | firstname.lastname@example.org