With the recent results of this year’s Battle of the Bands and DJ Contest, coupled with the addition of house music producer Baauer, has brought student excitement for Ivies to an extreme level. Student band Duck Blind and student DJ Nadim Elhage, who are set to open for Waka Flocka Flame and Baauer, respectively, noted their excitement to open for the two anticipated acts. 

“Be ready to have fun,” said Nadim Elhage ‘16. “I’m going to play a lot of stuff that you’d want to dance to and then mix in music that you would want to have fun to. It’s engaging.”

Student bands Duck Blind, Pulse, Gotta Focus and Treefarm competed in the annual event to be the opening act for Ivies 2016. Pulse won second place and will play before Elhage’s set on Saturday. Duck Blind, featuring Harrison Carmichael ’17 on lead guitar, Kyle Losardo ’17 on rhythm guitar, vocals by Mike Paul ’17, Sam Azbel ’18 on bass and Stephen Melgar ’16 on drums, claimed victory and the opportunity to open for Waka Flocka Flame on Thursday night in Smith Union.

“It was cool opening for Logic last year, but I’m excited to be playing in Smith which I think will be a more fun environment to be playing in, especially with the hype around Waka,” said Carmichael.

Judged by Associate Professor of Music Vineet Shende, Senior Lecturer in Music Frank Mauceri and President Clayton Rose, Azbel described how different it was to appeal to the judges as opposed to playing just for students.

“We were kind of focusing on what the judges wanted to hear as opposed to what the students wanted to hear,” said Azbel. “We’re usually not nervous for shows, but we were definitely a little bit nervous about Battle of the Bands because we were playing for definitely some really knowledgeable judges.”

“The feedback you get from the judges is also just great,” added Paul. “They tell you all about the technical things you’re doing right and wrong.”

Carmichael, Losardo, Paul and Melgar have played together for three years. Azbel filled in for the band’s bassist last year and has become a permanent member of the band this year.
Having won second place at Battle of the Bands last year, Carmichael said the band was hoping to win first this year.

“We’ve just been making a lot of time for practicing this past year,” said Carmichael. “I think we’ve just been very conscious about our song choice and making sure we have songs down that we really enjoy playing.”

Elhage, who has been DJing since his first year at Bowdoin, said his style has progressed to include fewer mainstream artists and more unexpected samples.

“I shy away from mainstream music because I feel like it loses the artistic touch that the music I listen to has,” Elhage said. “I want to stick to the style that [Baauer] has. I don’t want to be too radically different but have some surprises in there.”

Similarly, Duck Band has shifted from playing country music and has been finding a slightly different sound.

“We’re exploring our differences musically,” said Paul.  “I’d say we are all so different in the genres that we like, so we were kind of delving deeper into figuring out what we want to play.”