Lenina Crowne Wins Movin’ On Battle Of The Bands 2018
Eight bands entered this year’s installment of Movin’ On’s Battle of the Bands competition, but only one could come out victorious. The performers duked it out in Alumni Hall Wednesday night for Movin’ On’s greatest prize: opening for this year’s music festival, which will be headlined by Logic.
The first act was a punk, psychedelic rock band called Mantra. The emcees introduced the group, promising groovy vibes- – and the band delivered. The lead guitarist laid down some insane riffs to get the crowd going, and the bassist even got some love with a rare, but most certainly lit, bass solo in the group’s second number. Minus a botched “We Are” chant at the beginning of their third song, the group was perfect and kicked off the show with a bang.
Next on stage was Abstract Theory, a rap duo based out of Pittsburgh when they’re not spitting bars at Penn State. They opened with a statement, yelling “Fuck The System” in their first piece, a critique of modern society over a clean bass line. Abstract Theory definitely won the crowd over when it started dishing out t-shirts, and channeled its inner Busta Rhymes with some lightning fast freestyling to end the set. Two words: Mic. Drop.
Bonsai Trees followed, seemingly unfazed by the lyricism that preceded them. The high-energy, indie rock band took the stage determined to channel the audience’s teenage angst — and they succeeded. The group brought a Blink-182-esque vibe with songs like “She Ain’t Coming Back” and “Sophomore Slump.” One thing is for sure; the crowd was rocking out Bonsai Trees’ irresistible guitar riffs.
Up fourth was 95th Squadron, who slowed things down with a more acoustic/folk sound. The group’s lead vocalist shined in the two-song set. It’s worth mentioning one of the songs was 1o minutes long, so the crowd was not shorted. 95th Squadron concluded its act, proclaiming that they had a lovely time, and the audience reciprocated the sentiment with applause.
Then Sanmi & the Squad — a trio comprised of a lyricist, vocalist, and keyboardist — captured the audience with its pyramid set, in the sense that it would start slow in the first song and get lit in song two before slowing things back down for song three. Sanmi & the Squad followed through with the pyramid promise, and had the crowd singing along to their second song’s hook: “I’m waking, shaking, thanking, and I’m hoping.” The lyricist laid down some fire verses that also carried great weight, as he encouraged the audience to focus on the sentiment behind his words. The trio finished with a mellow yet uplifting finale in “Make It Rain.”
Lenina Crowne hit the stage next with the most diverse arrangement of instruments. The indie rock band boasted lead and backup guitarists, a bassist, drummer, and keyboardist/saxophonist. They kept it simple with a clean guitar melodies, and let the sax shine in song number three…so much so that the sax man ended up playing in the crowd. The crowd was all here for it, too. Play us out, saxophone.
The second to last act was a local celebrity named Cinnamane — a funky rapper who draws inspiration from Chance the Rapper and Lil Dicky. He delivered his signature witty verses and one-liners over some beats that had the crowd grooving. The audience lost its mind when he busted out his dance moves during some of the prerecorded choruses, and one emcee even called his Milly Rock “sturdy.” At one point, he accidentally stepped on a wire that cut his beat, but the crowd still stayed by his side. He fixed the issue and resumed the verse flawlessly. At the very least, Cinnamane was a fan favorite, as he received the loudest crowd reaction.
Last, but certainly not least, was Burnt Locals, who are verified on Spotify. The alternate rock band brought some more fast-paced guitar riffs, and exclaimed, “Let’s fucking party tonight guys!” after its first song. The high energy group definitely brought angst, as it finished with a song the lead vocalist/guitarist wrote about the girl who cheated on his twin brother. By the end of that number, the audience wanted to know her name to serve up justice.
In the end, there can only be one winner. After a slight tease by the emcees, the judges’ decision was in. They proclaimed Lenina Crowne the champion of Movin’ On Battle of the Bands 2018, so you can catch the band as the opening act at Movin’ On 2018 on April 27, saxophone and all. You can also check out a sample from each of the artists that performed at this year’s Battle of the Bands here.