For the past few years, local music has not been a big part of campus happenings in Chapel Hill. This year, though, the Carolina Union Activities Board at UNC is trying to bring local sounds back with a Local Music Showcase. On Thursday, Sept. 9, at the Great Hall in the Carolina Union, they’ll bring together local pop act International Orange, Durham’s midnight ramblers Jett Rink and the soulful rockers Transportation. It’s the first in a series of on-campus events put on by the CUAB, covering multiple musical styles and flavors.
CUAB member Stuart Cullinan says the idea is simple. “I have always felt it ironic that UNC has been surrounded by such rich local music but yet has not been able to embrace the scene and effectively introduce it to the students. The showcase aims to increase the students’ awareness of their own community, Chapel Hill, and the music that it is most known for.” These three bands are a great way to open this series, since their music is direct and accessible to audiences unfamiliar with local music.
International Orange is strong on songwriting, with three of their four members penning the music. They include Django Haskins, an emigre from NYC, Robert Sledge (wait for it) formerly of Ben Folds Five, and the musician simply known as Snuzz, who also played with Folds in Pots and Pans and led the group Bus Stop. Drummer Jason Fagg currently plays in several other local bands, including Cody Cods, and plays guitar in The Ugglians. The Orange has great history, but even better songs that float around one’s head like the best melodies were intended.
Indy readers don’t need much convincing about the live presence of Jett Rink. There are no passive audience members at their shows. They simply don’t allow it, since front man Viva brings their energy into the crowd. Transportation know the difference between genuine riffage and recycled fluff, so they infuse the best bent-knee-on-the-amp guitar thump into their sweet-toothed hard rock.
Organizers say other events in the series may include a singer-songwriter night at the Forest Theater and a hip-hop show. Cullinan recognizes that in the age of digital downloads versus discs, college students can easily go without seeing live music performances very often. “We ask that they try something different and give live music a chance. If they commit, I think the sound of Transportation, Jett Rink and International Orange will blow them away. Ultimately, we hope that students will come out in full force, both on campus and off campus, to support their local music scene.”
For the Sept. 9 show, doors are at 6:30 p.m. and the show at 7 p.m. UNC students are free, non-students pay $3.