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Road to Royce: Student groups compete for chance to perform in historic Royce Hall

Road to Royce: Student groups compete for chance to perform in historic Royce Hall


Student bands competed on stage in UCLA's newest venue for a chance to perform in the university's most historic venue.

Co-hosted by the UCLA Student Committee for Arts and Radio, the Road to Royce took place Monday evening at UCLA's Nimoy Theater and gave four groups of students the opportunity to compete for a opening slot at the SCA's Royce Hall show on May 16. — which SCA has held annually for decades — is featured by a famous artist alongside an opener from the Los Angeles area and an opener from UCLA, said Lauren Nemeh, a fourth-year cognitive science student and Director of Programming at SCA.

“In the past we have had incredible performances with Magdalena Bay, The Marías, Doja Cat, Bob Dylan in the 60s, Weyes Blood,” Nemeh said. “We're basically bringing talented, emerging artists to UCLA for students to enjoy for free.”

Band member Dylan Mai strums fervently on stage.  Gutterball also features London March, Jannick Jain, Connor Engel and Ryan Sardenberg.  (Renée Rubanowitz/Daily Bruin)
Band member Dylan Mai strums fervently on stage. Gutterball also features London March, Jannick Jain, Connor Engel and Ryan Sardenberg. (Renée Rubanowitz/Daily Bruin)

This year, SCA had the opportunity to host the Road to Royce competition at the Nimoy, UCLA's newly restored theater that opened in September. Charlotte Wren – a fourth-year civil engineering student, SCA co-chair for the event and member of UCLA Radio – said the two organizations have a shared mission of uplifting underrepresented musicians. Wren added that providing accessible entertainment on campus is a key goal for SCA and UCLA Radio.

“Making these performances free is crucial,” she said. “UCLA offers a lot of resources, but it doesn't always do a good job of providing free entertainment for students, so it's important for organizations to invent that and put on their own shows.”

[Related: Getty Center’s College Night invites students to reexamine history through art]

When it came to selecting which groups would participate, Wren said SCA reviewed more than 20 applications from different student artists before choosing four finalists – Whistle Hill, Selkie Winter, Gutterball and Bryce Fleming. The four artists, who took the stage at 7 p.m., were each given 20 minutes to perform in front of a lively crowd and a panel of judges including SCA's programming directors and Stig Edgren, executive producer and live event designer and speaker. in the music industry program.

The first band was Whistle Hill, a four-man band led by musician and third-year student Ibrahim Hussain. Although they were making their debut that night at Nimoy, Whistle Hill played with a distinct and consistent style, mixing pop rock with “midwest emo influences” – a style described by the band themselves in their introduction. At the end of their set, the band had the audience cheering with each performance of the three-song lineup reminiscent of the '90s rock scene.

Indie rock singer-songwriter Selkie Winter, alongside her four-piece student band, performed next, bringing a mix of smooth vocals and hard-hitting lyrics. Winter performed four original songs, including two new singles called “Desert Sunrise” and “Swimming,” which Winter announced would be released on Friday. Throughout her performance, Winter showcased both her vocal and songwriting talent, greeting the audience amid another round of applause.

“His sound is best described as atmospheric and transcendental with an emphasis on poetic lyricism and poignant instrumentals,” Wren said in introducing Winter.

B: Accompanied by a seven-member band, singer Bryce Fleming sings into the microphone.  The winning performance of the evening, Fleming's set included the original works
Accompanied by a seven-member band, singer Bryce Fleming sings into the microphone. The winning performance of the night, Fleming's set included original works “Close”, Swept Me Off My Feet and upcoming single Summer Rain as well as Alicia Keys' Fallin. (Renée Rubanowitz/Daily Bruin)

Playing third was the band Gutterball, consisting of singer London March, guitarists Dylan Mai and Jannick Jain, drummer Connor Engel and bassist Ryan Sardenberg. The band's original songs had indie rock influences, with the themes of each chorus ranging from budding romance to infidelity to Halloween, with March telling the audience to pretend it's October during the latter performance. The six-song lineup included a cover of Hole's “Celebrity Skin” sung by March and a finale performance with Jain on vocals that was apparently influenced by classic rock star endings.

The evening concluded with singer-songwriter Bryce Fleming, joined on stage by a seven-person student band including saxophone, trumpet and trombone players. After opening with a powerful rendition of Alicia Keys' “Fallin',” Fleming continued to showcase her soul funk and R&B influences through her original music, performing her songs “Close,” “Swept Me Off My Feet” and his next single, “Summer Rain.” While Fleming's dynamic vocals were enough to captivate the crowd, the saxophone solo Midway through the performance, there was also a moment to steal the show – all in a talent-packed stage that had the audience applauding throughout the set.

[Related: Music Preview: Familar artists bloom once again in upcoming spring releases]

After Fleming and his band finished their final song, the judges deliberated for 10 minutes before Edgren took the stage to announce the winner of the opening act at Royce Hall. Edgren recognized the talent in all four performances before announcing the judges' final choice – Bryce Fleming.

Cheers erupted from the audience, which included Fleming's family and friends, as Fleming and the band were introduced on stage. As they accepted their flowers, Nemeh and Nina Tartibi, a fourth-year cognitive science student and director of programming at SCA, announced that the headliner for the Royce Hall show would be Sudan Archives violinist and singer, who will perform after the Los Angeles opening, Angela Muñoz. and now, Bryce Fleming on May 16. The audience gave one final round of applause while SCA programming directors thanked the crowd for coming and congratulated Bryce Fleming and his band one last time.

“It’s super cool and super new for us,” Fleming said as he left the Nimoy stage. “It’s going to be really fun.”




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