Spotlight Series, Uncategorized

The Up-And-Coming Band

After performing multiple house shows around the area and opening up for Sun Club at the Spotlight series February show, Harrisonburg’s local dream-pop shoegaze group, Caulfield, is finally getting its turn in the limelight. Caulfield gave a stellar performance at the Rumble Down Under battle of the bands, in which they were voted best band. This helped them to finally catch public attention. Because of their victory, they now will be showcasing their talent at Madipalooza, a one-day music festival held at James Madison University (JMU), that was held yesterday. With hundreds of attendees and amazing past headliners such as Misterwives and Strong Water, this was an amazing venue for Caulfield.

Caulfield is made of four JMU students: Troy Gamboa, Nathan Johnson, Cole Roberts, and Jonny Weiss. Before Caulfield was truly born Troy, Nathan, and Cole would play guitar together on the Festival lawn. Soon, Troy realized they could make something tremendous and asked around JMU for a drummer, which is when Jonny was inducted to the little four member family.  Originally the boys were just excited to call themselves a band and looked forward to play at nearby house shows, but once they realized Caulfield’s potential they started growing their network and reached out to Ur Häus, a recording company that Nathan’s brother helps run.  In February 2016, after only being together for six months, Caulfield released their first EP; with five catchy songs this EP as a huge hit at MadiPalooza.

“Caulfield EP” starts off slow paced with chords followed by a simple echoing guitar melody and then transitions into a dreamy rock vibe with the song Smile. However, in paying more attention to lyrics you hear the cries for help, that it is less a dream and more a rude awakening with a forced smile. Then comes Marina, an enchanting tune that beckons for more with it’s majestic vocals and fading drums. A second transition, Pareidolia, moves the EP in a different direction starting out with synth notes that sound like they shouldn’t fit but somehow paired with drums and guitar, it all mixes perfectly. The EP wraps up with Can She Bloom, reminding the listener of love through caring vocals and light guitar but also having an afterthought of what pain remains with loud drum beats.

Since winning Rumble Down Under, Caulfield has had the opportunity to work with Blue Sprocket to record more good noise for their continuously growing fan base, which was founded the day they released their EP by Brazilian friend Savio Lopes. In addition to Madipalooza, Caulfield has been invited to play at other college music festivals, including Bonnie-roo at Radford. If you missed them at Madipalooza yesterday, you can find Caulfield on Facebook and listen on bandcamp!

Written by Spotlight Sounds Committee Member Ally Engelbrecht
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, 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
Spotlight Series, Uncategorized

X Marks the Spotlight Show

Chances are you’ve seen some of the signs around campus talking about the X Ambassadors, but some of you might not realize who they are. Don’t be embarrassed! They’re an up-and-coming band and they are playing our Spotlight Series show tomorrow, February 26th, in TDU at 7p.

Impress your friends with your extensive background knowledge of the band during the show, because everyone needs at least one night to be that friend. Here’s a STARTER PACK of what you need to know to seem in the know:

The X Ambassadors are an American alternative rock band from Brooklyn, New York. Their sound is a mix between fun. and Imagine Dragons with a little bit of the Postelles thrown in there for good measure.

If you’re a huge fan of Imagine Dragons, you might have caught the X Ambassadors opening for the band on their most recent tour. Also, if you’re a huge fan of the music festival scene (or if you’re like me and constantly lamenting the fact that you couldn’t get tickets…) then consider this TDU show a little preview before they go on to play the Firefly Music Festival later this June. Then, when everyone goes to Firefly and comes back talking about that sick new band called the X Ambassadors you can say you saw them first and for FREE.


“Unconsolable”: They recently released a music video for their most well-known song “Unconsolable”. Quite a heart-warming watch. Despite the song having minimal background instrumentation for the majority of it (it’s mostly just singer, Sam Harris, and drummer, Adam Levin pushing the song along), it still makes you want to groove around on linoleum floors in some tube socks, that is if you ignore the incorrect grammar of the title.

“Down With Me”: This song really highlights singer Sam Harris’ fantastic vocals. With more of a pop-mixed-with-folk feel to it, this song lulls you into a false sense of security that it’s going to let you stand there and sway back and forth with the crowd. Once it hits the bridge, though, and Harris hits that high note (listen to it and you’ll know what I mean), you’re not going to want to do anything but jump around and try to hit that note with him.

“Love Songs Drug Songs”: This is the song that would sell out a Stomp concert if Stomp was actually cool and if Stomp had Adam Levin doing everything for them. The intensity of Levin’s drumming is what allows Harris’ vocals and Noah Feldshuh’s guitar to reach that next level. Casey Harris’ subtle but sweet keyboard tones keep this song just on the right side of overpowering.