Kentchella Rocks the Rec

Written by on March 17, 2017

By: Emily Brodke and Erin Keller

Students were quickly scurrying into the Kent State Rec Center on Friday night, trying to escape the frigid cold.  Most people had come to check out Kentchella, the first music and arts festival to be held in the rec.

I hung out at the Main Stage, sponsored by Black Squirrel Radio, hoping to catch the most action.  People milled around, not quite sure where to focus their attention.  The racquetball courts had been transformed into tiny art galleries that were filled with student’s creations, ranging from paintings to photographs to fashion pieces.  There was acoustic music emanating from the “secret” performance areas, located in yoga studios and stairwells.  There was even a room for Kentchella-goers to watch live art, and I quickly popped in as the artist was lining up his various supplies in front of the wall that had been transformed into one giant canvas.

Kicking off the night was Booty & the Kidd, a hip-hop duo from Columbus with an authentic and creative sound.  The “Hall and Oates of Hip-Hop” really set the atmosphere for the rest of the night, rapping over intricate instrumentations and catching the audience’s attention with their distinct voices and style.   Make sure to check out their debut album The Heart of It All.

Next in the lineup were the Kent natives Passenger Trip, who really rocked out.  Power chords galore and lead singer Kevin Schreckengost’s powerful voice had the crowd head-banging in minutes.  As Passenger Trip’s songs reverberated throughout the gym, one couldn’t help but notice the amazing element that the keyboardist Colin McDevitt’s playing brought to each song.  Each member of the band showed the audience their individual expertise as instrumentalists, and how each of these talents came together to form a cohesive, infectious sound.  By the end of the set, the crowd was chanting for an encore.  Check out their debut single “Please Come Homeand be sure to see the band at their FREE EP release show, scheduled to start at 7:30pm on March 18th at Euro Gyro.

The Labra Brothers from Youngstown, Ohio came in swinging next with a retro vibe, perfect harmonies, and incredible saxophone playing by David Labra.  You could tell the members of the band were seasoned professionals, and really knew how to work the crowd, inspiring an electric energy.  They even pulled out a cover of “Dani California”, and kept the crowd moving with their songs that were beautifully sung in Spanish.  If you missed out on Kentchella, make sure to listen to their song “Sin Solucion”.

Electronic music producer and DJ Atheros played next, and it was nothing short of a dance party from start to finish.  There were confetti canons, an appearance from Left Shark, and music that really got the crowd moving.  Atheros, who is known by day as Kent State student Jordan Kolaric, is a gifted entertainer, and the only thing that could have made the performance better is if he would have descended from the rock wall, in Lady Gaga Superbowl fashion.

John Patrick & The Outside Voices took the stage next, bringing a folk/blues sound to the lineup that should have made every person in the audience long for the Kent State Folk Festival to return.  The band played songs off of their recently released full length album Hound Dogs, and most notably their single “Terrible Feelings.” You can listen to the album on Spotify or Bandcamp.

The last performance of the night was from the band Northern Whale, who revived the crowd’s energy, even after 1am.  The band performed several covers which resonated with the crowd, including “Shiver Shiver” by Walk the Moon and a mellow and beautifully performed version of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5.  They also performed their song, “Sushi”, which really invigorated the crowd with its upbeat melody.  The band eventually hopped off stage and jammed with the audience on the gym floor, closing Kentchella with a bang. 

While I was mostly preoccupied with the Main Stage on Friday night, Erin got a different perspective and attended some Group X classes and the Silent Disco.  Here’s what she had to say:

While the live performances were AWESOME, the best part about Kentchella was the Silent Disco. My friends who went to Bonnaroo last summer always talk about it, so I thought it was cool that I got to experience on here in Kent. For those who have never heard of a Silent Disco, everyone is given a set of headphones and can chose to listen to 1 of 3 DJs in the room. Basically, everyone is goings nuts to their own beat, and it is awesome. When I took my headphones off, there were only murmurs of heavy breathing. It was a perfect example of how music can transport you into your own world.

Group X Fitness classes included Yoga, Zumba, Bellydancing and Bollywood. The most noteworthy piece here is Elianae the Bellydancer. The rec will start offering Bellydance and Bollywood classes next semester. Each class was well attended as the thumping of the bands from Main Stage filled the Combative Studio.

Whether you were interested in perusing the art galleries, getting funky at the silent disco, taking part in Group X Classes offered, or simply jamming out to your favorite local bands, there was enough going on at Kentchella to keep everyone entertained for hours.

Hopefully this free event continues to grow and attract more students in the upcoming years, because it was definitely a Friday night well spent.

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