Entertainment, Film

UPB Rates Superheroes

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an advanced screening of Justice League! Want to know more about the members of the Justice League for the advanced screening on 11/14? UPB rates Justice League members.

 

This is Superman.

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Powers and abilities: flight, super-strength, super-speed, vision powers, superhuman intelligence

Weaknesses: kryptonite, magic

Origins: Born as Kal-El on the planet Krypton, but was rocketed to Earth before Krypton’s destruction.  Adopted by a couple from Kansas

Alias: Clark Kent

An American cultural icon and played by Henry Cavill, we rate Superman a 10/10

 

This is Wonder Woman.

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Powers and abilities: Superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, agility, healing, technology (Lasso of Truth, tiara)

Weaknesses: vulnerability to Piercing Weapons

Origins: sculpted from clay by her mother and daughter of Zeus. Her official title is Princess Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta

Alias: Diana Prince

A compassionate warrior, advocator of peace, and strong female role model, we rate Wonder Woman 13/10

 

This is The Flash.

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Powers and abilities: superhuman speed, superhuman reflexes,

Weaknesses: mortality

Origins: Police scientist in Central City.  Lightning-struck chemicals spills over Barry, and he gains power through the speed force

Alias: Barry Allen

The fastest hero is the DC Universe and has the potential to change reality, we rate The Flash 8/10

 

This is Aquaman.

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Powers and abilities: amphibious, marine telepathy, strength, speed

Weaknesses: water deprivation

Origins: Son of a lighthouse keeper and exiled Queen of Atlantis, was taught to control his powers and would eventually inherit rule of the seven seas

Alias: Arthur Curry

Interested to see Aquaman played by Jason Momao, but the ability to talk to fish? We rate Aquaman 3/10

 

This is Cyborg.

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Powers and abilities: mechanically enhanced body, intelligence, strength, speed

Weaknesses: focus

Origins: Body is destroyed in a tragic accident, but was saved through experimental technology that replaced body parts with machinery

Alias: Victor Stone

Also a member of Teen Titans, half man and half machine, we rate Cyborg 6/10

 

Come to Grafton on 11/14 for a FREE advanced screening of Justice League at 9:30pm!

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Entertainment

What Fall Themed Craft Should You Do Based on Your Zodiac Sign?

Aries -The Ram, March 21 – April 19

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Creative and spontaneous Aries, this is the perfect craft for you! Show off your unique personality and style with these painted pumpkins. Color, design, even pumpkin size, the choice is yours to make! Extra bonus: this is way less messy than trying to carve a pumpkin. And although this craft may be on the more difficult side, no challenge can scare you off!

Taurus– The Bull, April 20 – May 20

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Taurus, you have your stuff together, and nothing says that better than a classy centerpiece! Show off your bold personality with these statement pieces. And as someone who can accomplish anything they set their mind to, you are sure to rock it!

Gemini– The Twins, May 21 – June 20

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Gemini, you are very flexible in your life, and so is this slime! (Get it?) Slime makes people happy and so do you. This is a fun craft for a fun-loving person, perfect for sharing with all of your friends! It’s also great to play with as a stress ball, so if you ever feel like you’ve stretched yourself too thin in your daily engagements (get it??), unwind and play with some slime!

Cancer– The Crab, June 21 – July 22

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Self-pampering is very important for hard working Cancer. You need to take some time away from what may be stressing you and treat yo self! This easy to make sugar scrub will get you feeling like you’re at the spa, with the added treat of its fall festiveness. And as someone who loves their family, it’s good to have this in your repertoire when you need holiday gifts for everyone!

Leo– The Lion, July 23 – August 22

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Social Leo, of course you are the one hosting Friendsgiving! This garland would make a perfect decoration for the event. As someone who is totally in control, you’ll be happy to know you’ve got these pie-perfect decorations so Friendsgiving can go off without a hitch! You are a social and warm person, so invite your friends over for some warm pie, or in this case, paper pie too.

Virgo– The Virgin, August 23 – September 22

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These pumpkin jars are perfect for you, Virgo! Charm all your houseguests by offering them candy from one of these adorable jars! And since you’re such an amazing team player, why not invite your friends over for a craft night and make these together? And since tidiness is so important to you, it’s great to have a place to store candy and treats without adding clutter to your space.

Libra– The Scales, September 23 – October 22

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As a lover of beauty and a hard worker, this is the perfect fall DIY for you, Libra. Channel your inner Bob Ross and learn to paint these beautiful leaves! Take a break from your crazy busy week of activities; a quiet night in of painting and drinking hot coco seems like exactly what you need right now.

Scorpio– The Scorpion, October 23 – November 21

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Here are some bold pumpkins for bold Scorpio! You are cool and confident, so show it off on some Pun-kins! But as someone who isn’t afraid of speaking their mind, try to be careful to keep your Pun-kins appropriate for the place you put them in.

Sagittarius-The Centaur, November 22 – December 21

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Your focus and drive makes this a perfect craft for you, Sagittarius. You need a creative outlet to channel your abounding energy, so why not make these adorable string pumpkins? You can even tie them together to make a festive pumpkin garland! As an eternal optimist, you’d be the perfect candidate to make these happy lil’ pumpkin pals.

Speaking of happy lil pumpkins, come to UPBoo! We’re going to be making this same craft at the event. Find UPBoo on October 25th at 7pm in TDU! We’ll have crafts and candy and costumes and all things Halloween! But don’t let the name fool you, it won’t be scary!

Aquarius– The Water Bearer, January 20 – February 18

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Artistic Aquarius, let your true colors shine with these decorative leaves! These leaf paintings are highly customizable, so you could spend all day creating unique and beautiful designs. And a quiet walk in the woods to collect leaves for the project will help you clear your mind from your daily stresses.

Pisces– The Fish, February 19 – March 20
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And finally, here is a fall craft for you Pisces! Let your inner uniqueness shine with this string art décor! With your active imagination, you can create all sorts of fall shapes and string designs and they will come out spectacularly.

 

See a craft you like for a zodiac sign that isn’t yours? Do that craft anyway! Do all of the crafts if you want! I’m not the craft police, I can’t tell you what to do.

Entertainment

The Ten Most Important Things You Need to Know About UPB!

1. It’s run entirely by students

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UPB is one of the largest student run organizations at JMU! All years and majors can be a part of UPB. We send out surveys every year to students to make sure our events are relevant to student’s interests. There are about 150 students in UPB, do you want to be one of them?

2We plan more than just concerts!

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UPB is made up of 5 committees that each plan special events on campus. We host over 200 events each year. Movies at Grafton, Late Night Breakfasts, Bus Trips, Guest Speakers, Comedians, Moonbounces, Free Food and More! If you ever find yourself on campus with nothing to do, odds are you’re probably missing a UPB event!

3. So that means there’s something in UPB for everyone!

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And you don’t just have to like event planning to be a part of UPB. Are you interested in graphic design or photography? Finance? Community outreach? Dressing up in silly costumes? Arts and crafts? Dancing (sometimes poorly but with full enthusiasm)? We’ve got all sorts of things on our to-do lists.

4. UPB stands for University Program Board!

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For some of you this may seem obvious, but there are plenty of people who wonder what our acronym means! The University is JMU (okay that one is obvious), the Programs are all the great events we have on campus, and the Board is the 150 students who are a part of UPB.

5. Programs usually have *FREE FOOD*

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Thats right. FREE FOOD. Stop by a Spotlight Sounds concert at TDU and you can get free Campus Cookies. Late Night Breakfasts have free breakfast foods, like bacon and tater tots. Everyone loves the tots. And if there is another bus trip to Busch Gardens you can get a giant turkey leg! (Ok I know that last one isn’t free, but good for UPB for providing the people access to giant turkey legs).

6. Most of the events are FREE

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Funny Freakin Friday comedians, Late Night Breakfasts, Spotlight Sounds concerts and more have no admission fee! So if you’re living the #BrokeCollegeStudentLyfe, you can enjoy our events and bring all your friends! Most events have freebie giveaway items or crafts, too!

7. We have a budget

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We can’t have Beyonce as a concert or Kanye West as a motivational speaker because the UPB budget doesn’t have enough money for that! We balance our yearly budget very carefully so that none of our events have to suffer due to lack of funds. And because of this careful balance, we’re able to make all of our events amazing! (Or at least we’d like to think so!)

8. We have an office in Madison Union

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UPB’s address is 324 Madison Union. There are a lot of people who don’t realize we have an office on campus! We use our office to get WORK done. Anyone can stop by if they want to learn more about UPB, or if they have any questions about what we do. The office is also located very close to Dunkin’ Donuts, which is ideal because Dunkin’ = Life.

9. You can make some really good friends in UPB!

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This organization does a great job balancing work and play. We take our jobs seriously, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t having fun! UPB is an amazing JMU family, and working together brings us all really close! And since students in UPB are all years and majors, there always something we can learn from each other.

10. You can apply to be a part of UPB!!

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Check out the P.I.T. crew application! If you are a sophomore to senior and want to be even more involved in UPB, apply for Spotlight Sound’s Artist & Repertoire or Admin chair! The applications close on September 22nd at 5p!  https://beinvolved.jmu.edu/organization/upb

Come to our information sessions on Thursday September 14 at 6-7p in MU 302 and Wednesday September 20 at 5-6p in MU 405!

 

What are you waiting for? JOIN UPB!

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Center Stage, Entertainment, Uncategorized

Ultralight Beam in your Feed

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It’s been a couple weeks now since Kanye West released his highly anticipated album, The Life of Pablo, and yes, it’s fire. After months of empty twitter promises and three name changes to the album, West partially streamed 10 of his new beats during the Yeezy season 3 event in New York City, which in all truth, was also fire. 

The whole album is now available on Tidal, a streaming service owned by his buddy Jay Z, and which most of us had no idea existed until The Life of Pablo. Tidal charges $9.99 a month for unlimited access, but it offers a free month trial (perfect for broke college students) where you can listen to Kanye’s new album until it hopefully becomes available in other platforms. 

The featured artists on this new album are superb. The Weeknd, Ty Dolla $ign, Rihanna, and Frank Ocean are just some of the collaborations he included. The Life of Pablo has more of a spiritual vibe than his previous albums, which reflects the recent interest Kanye has put into gospel music. This is better visible in tracks like “Ultralight Beam” and “Lowlights,” the latter one performed by a mysterious woman, who apparently is a Jamaican songwriter.

Since Kanye can’t stop being so Kanye, it was no surprise that some of his lyrics would spark some passionate debates on social media. The whole “Taylor-Kanye” conflict made headlines and is yet to be over, but at least we got some good tweets out of it, not to mention the epic shade Taylor Swift threw at Kanye during her Grammy speech. 

If you haven’t already, stop what you’re doing and listen to The Life of Pablo. Chances are you too will end up saying “I Love Kanye.”

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Written by Center Stage Committee Member Alex Bustillos
Entertainment, Film, Uncategorized

Is Leo Actually Going to Win the Oscar?

The people have spoken, but what will the Academy say?

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Since 1994 (before some of us were even born), Leonardo DiCaprio has been receiving Oscar nominations. In 1994, it was a Best Supporting Actor Nom for his performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. In 2005, Leo was nominated for Best Actor in The Aviator and then again in 2007 for Blood Diamond.

Seven years later in 2014, America’s favorite non-Oscar-Winner was nominated for Best Actor in The Wolf of Wall Street. There was some speculation that 2014 might finally be the year, but in the back of our minds, we all knew Matthew McConaughey deserved it for Dallas Buyers Club. (Come on, the man lost 38 pounds for the movie)

It’s 2016 now and Leo is once again nominated at the Oscars for Best Actor for The Revenant. People (the internet) really, really want Leo to win this time. So we decided to dig in to see if Leo is likely to bring home a little golden man on Sunday.

 

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So far Mr. Dicaprio’s performance in The Revenant has won him a…

Golden Globe 

  • BAFTA Film Award
  • EDA Award
  • Australian Film Institute International Award
  • Awards Circuit Community Award

Critics Choice Award

  • Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award
  • Chicago Films Critics Association Award
  • Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award 
  • Denver Film Critics Society
  • Dorian Award
  • Georgia Film Critics Association
  • Kanas City Film Critics Circle Awards
  • Sierra Award
  • Nevada Film Critics Society
  • North Texas Film Critics Association
  • Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Awards
  • Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards 
  • San Diego Film Critics Society Award
  • Satellite Award

Screen Actors Guild Award

  • Seattle Film Critics Award
  • St. Louis Film Critics Association
  • Utah Film Critics Association Award
  • Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards

The award that’s most revealing in this long list is his Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award. 
For the past ten years, the actor who’s won Best Actor at the SAG Awards also won the Oscar for Best Actor. Every year. For the last ten years. This seems like a VERY promising sign for Leo. If he doesn’t win, it’ll be destroying a ten-year streak.

If you saw the movie, you can also safely conclude, Leo killed it in his performance!

He spent hours in a make-up chair everyday. He braved real elements (cold, snow, physical strain) to film this movie and he only had about one hour a day to nail his performance because the director wanted to shot using only natural light. Without giving anything away, for a good chunk of the movie all Leo can do is grunt and moan, and it’s the most passionate, pain-filled, believable and telling grunting and moaning ever. He steals the camera without saying a cohesive sentence.
The blogosphere and the past precedent seem to point to a clear Leo-Victory… but we will have to wait and see on Sunday. 

Let us know if you think Leo should take home the Oscar or if you are rooting for another leading man!

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Watch Leonardo DiCaprio (fingers crossed) win on Sunday at the Oscars and watch his award-winning performance in The Revenant for just $3 at Grafton, March 16-19 at 9:30p.

Written by Film Committee Chair Brenna Cashen
Center Stage, Entertainment, Uncategorized

An Artist to Look Out For: Jack Garratt

Jack Garratt released his debut album, Phase, about a week ago and I have had it on repeat ever since. 

He has a music style that is difficult to categorize and once you listen to it, you will realize why. His songs have an electro-R&B sound with the use of the keyboard, guitar, and drums. The definition of a one-man-band, Garratt uses a loop pedal to layer all of the instruments and sounds in his songs. With his soulful, intense, and captivating sound, he brings something different to the table, or in this case, to the speaker. While the entire album is brilliant, “Surprise Yourself,” “Falling,” and “Fire,” are must listens.

There has been a lot of buzz for this guy with the release. Recently, Jack Garratt has been on Apple Music’s new artist spotlight and on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist. Most notably, he was named that #1 sound of 2016 on the BBC’s annual poll that is voted on by experts of the music industry in the UK. Garratt joins the company of Adele, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding, and HAIM on the list, who were all winners in previous years so don’t be surprised if you see this name all over the charts soon. 

You can listen to his album on Spotify, Apple Music, or, better yet, buy it on iTunes! You won’t regret it.

Written by Center Stage Committee Member Laura DeLongis 
Center Stage, Entertainment, Uncategorized

Everything You Need to Know About Ke$ha and Dr. Luke

This past Friday, February 19th, Kesha’s hopeful fight for justice came to a screeching halt and people are finally taking notice.

The Backstory: It has been 17 months since Kesha’s last visit to court when she sued her producer and founder of Kemosabe Records, Dr. Luke, for drugging, raping and abusing her shortly after her 18th birthday. This alleged verbal and physical abuse continued throughout the last 10 years of them working together, but there is no concrete evidence to validate this. Dr. Luke denied these claims and believed that Kesha and her team were falsely accusing him to extort money.

The Update: Kesha is contractually obligated to produce 6 albums with Sony which would require the singer to work in close quarters with the man who abused her. The purpose of Friday’s court ruling was to release Kesha from her contract, allowing her the freedom to make music with another record label.

The Verdict: The New York Supreme Court sided with Dr. Luke, refusing to free Kesha from her contract, binding her to create 4 more albums with Kemosabe Records. Thus came the birth of the hashtag #FreeKesha, which has taken social media by storm. Prominent musicians and celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Lena Dunham, Kelly Clarkson, Lorde, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato have been speaking up in support of the pop singer. Taylor Swift has even given Kesha $250,000 in monetary support.

What’s Next: This is only the first ruling in the case, so Kesha fans will have to wait patiently for new music as this is likely the beginning of a long and grueling legal dispute.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/taylor-swift-donates-250-000-to-kesha-after-court-ruling-20160222#ixzz40vL4DKVS

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6882950/kesha-celebrity-supporters-sony-settle-dr-luke-case-attorneys

Written by Center Stage Member Julie Challender 
Entertainment, Spotlight Series

Important Concert Etiquette

It’s almost concert season, which means many of you will be traveling for shows and jamming out with other experienced concert goers as you all enjoy a marvelous show to the fullest, or at least try to.

In recent years, concerts and festivals have gained a large and continuously growing following, which is amazing for up and coming artists and festivals looking to get a jump start. However, many advertisements can be found on Facebook and even during television commercials, reeling in customers that are not concert regulars, nor aware of show etiquette. Now of course every concert is it’s own experience, and everyone enjoys the performance in different ways, but I want to talk about some actions deemed unacceptable at shows that is becoming a problem as attendance grows.

A continuous issue is what I’ll call “crowd cutters”. These are the people that arrive to a show after the performer has already started and pushes all the way through the crowd to reach the front. Now see, we all want to be close to the artist, but pushing everyone out of your way angers the crowd, bringing bad vibes to the once happy scene. If you want to be at the front, show up early when the doors open! I will also just say that no matter where in the crowd you are located, you are going to have a good time if you just let yourself enjoy the music and the moment. The crowd is a fluid moving body, don’t think you have to stick to one spot or that one place is better than another.

A problem seen at outdoor festivals is too much crowd surfing. Yes, it’s so much fun and everyone should experience it at some point, but know when it’s time to dance on your feet. We cannot all surf at one time either, so if you are going to jump on top, at least take a look around first to make sure it is still somewhat safe.

The biggest takeaway from all this is to please just be mindful at concerts. Do not be afraid to have fun but make sure you aren’t harshing someone else’s experience to heighten yours.

Written by Spotlight Sounds Committee Member Ally Engelbrecht

 

Entertainment, Uncategorized

A Recap of The 2016 Grammys

            This year’s Grammy Awards was quite the spectacle. In addition to its crowd stealing performances and (for lack of a better word) “interesting” red carpet outfits, there were some remarkable on stage occurrences that seem to have everyone talking. After receiving her “Album of the Year” Grammy for her critically acclaimed 1989, Taylor Swift gave a rather interesting acceptance speech. Almost everyone can remember back at 2009’s MTV Video Music Awards when Kanye West stole the microphone from Ms. Swift and proclaimed Beyonce’s Single Ladies video as the “greatest of all time,” virtually stealing the spotlight from Taylor during her moment of triumph. To add insult to previous injury, Kanye West on his most recent album The Life of Pablo proclaimed that he did Taylor a favor by interrupting her in 2009: ““I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why?/ I made that b**ch famous/ God d**m I made that b**ch famous.” In response to this, Taylor Swift denounced West in a thinly veiled acceptance speech at last night’s awards ceremony: ““I want to say to all the young women out there: there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” Swift said. “But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you … you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there, and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.” West still refuses via Twitter that he has a still-standing feud with Swift.

            Another onstage occurrence that has gained notoriety was Adele’s performance. Coming hot off the heels of her widely televised Adele: Live in London performance, Adele took the stage last night at the Grammy’s to sing All I Ask. However, the performance was plagued by faulty sound equipment including microphones that fell onto live piano wires. Alls well that ends well however because Adele wrote on Twitter that she decided to treat herself to an In and Out burger following her faulty performance.

            Perhaps the most attention grabbing performance of the evening came from Kendrick Lamar. Lamar, who virtually swept the rap and hip hop categories last night, gave a very moving performance of The Blacker the Berry complete with an on stage set resembling a Prison block and African-American background dancers in prison uniforms and chains. Obviously commenting on the proportionality of incarcerated African-Americans in American prisons, Lamar joins the likes of Beyonce, Spike Lee, and Jada Pinkett Smith who have all used their star appeal to draw attention to race relations in America.

            The Grammy’s were surely a sight to behold last night. Its celebrity feuds, unfortunate mishaps, and political undertones provided a unique spectacle for all who tuned in to enjoy, appreciate, and soak in. This year’s Grammys were a reminder to us all of the effects music can have on our culture.

Written by Center Stage Committee Member Jim Pomeroy 
Entertainment, Monthly Events, Spotlight Series, Uncategorized

Prinze George: Concert Review

It’s the calm before the storm for Indie pop trio Prinze George. 

The three, originally from Prince George, Maryland, are sitting in the dressing room after their eleven song set. Changed out of their all white stage attire, the three look relaxed and clearly comfortable with each other. 

Naomi Almquist, the band’s main vocalist explains, “We’re basically waiting for something to happen…We’ve been working on our album this whole past year and now it’s really up to our management.” 

Prinze Geroge has seen success with their self-titled EP released at the beginning of 2015. Critics and music blogs alike claim that they are, “destined for indie pop royalty status.” 

When on stage, one can’t help but feel like they are in the presence of the next big thing. 

They started out with their most popular track, “Upswing.” An expertly crafted song, balanced between electronic samples and a catchy guitar riff. The pace was set for the rest of the night. 

It’s hard to place a front man for the band, since each member individually contributes to a individual unique sound. Kenny Grimm does production and instrumentals. During their new song “Freeze” Grimm showcased his musical talent by ripping a 30-second long solo on his Launchpad, effectively causing the entire 120-person crowd to get on their feet in appreciation. Then there’s Isabella De Leon on drums and vocals. De Leon’s use of the snare drum mixed with her electronic drum set is arguably what puts this band ahead of the rest. She wears a huge smile as she pounds away at the drums, creating a contagious beat. By the end of the night every girl wanted to be her and every guy wanted to date her. Finally there’s Naomi Almquist on vocals. Despite her small stature, she has a deep soulful voice that ties their unique sound together. During their track, “The Writer” she attributes her musical talent to her mother, “My mother taught me pretty much everything I know about singing.” Almquist’s mother’s vocals are sampled in “The Writer.” 

Too often bands seem rigid on stage. Not Prinze George. The beat seems to simultaneously run through the three as they nod their heads in synchronized motion. When claimed they were good dancers, the three laughed. Grimm commented, “I’ve got like three moves that I stick to that I just repeat over and over.” 

Next for Prinze George? Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The festival, happening this August, is hand picked by Aaron Dessner of The National and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, two of the band’s favorite artists. 

Almquist explains, “It’s different than playing Coachella or Bonnaroo, it’s hand-picked and we were honored to be invited.” 

Once this calm is over, Prinze George does indeed have the potential and momentum to become indie-pop royalty. Which is fitting considering their band name.

Written by Spotlight Sounds Committee Member Marissa McCormick