Biggest Mouth: ‘Weird Kids’ invited to Manifest

By Molly Walsh, Campus Reporter

Confetti was matted on the floor while speakers blared original music and lyrics from students on the stage above. From hip-hop, soul and screaming rock, the 11 groups that performed at Columbia’s Biggest Mouth competition April 19 showcased the dynamic and captivating talent on campus.

After an energetic performance, Charlie Curtis-Beard and the Weird Kids took home first place at the competition.

Senior music major Charlie Curtis-Beard, along with three background vocalists, a brass section, guitarists and a drummer, competed against 10 other groups for the title at the Metro, 3730 N. Clark St.

The group will open for the soon-to-be-announced Manifest headliner May 11 and won $1,000, a video produced by Naked Gallery, a featured article on Indie Band Guru, a photoshoot by Chollette, and recording time with Rax Trax Studio.

Curtis-Beard described the band’s music as neo-soul—hip-hop with a splash of jazz.

“We go out there and have fun because that’s what we are meant to do,” Curtis-Beard said. “When we are on stage, it just feels good.”

The band commanded the stage and had the audience dancing for its entire set while performing three original songs: “Myself,” “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Wholeness.”

Senior music major and background vocalist for the band Brian Danzy said the group feeds off of each others’ energy.

“We definitely prayed for this,” he said. “Not even to win  but  to do our best and have fun.”

Adjunct Music Professor Rick Barnes was one of the three judges deciding which group won first and second place.

Barnes said all of the performances were engaging, but Charlie Curtis-Beard and the Weird Kids’ originality and electric performance put the band over the rest of the competition.

“It’s great to see the progress of a lot of the kids,” Barnes said. “They did great. All the bands were wonderful.”

With a dynamic performance and tight, soulful vocal riffs, the band Vrede took second place at Biggest Mouth. It was awarded $750 and a photoshoot with Chollette. Voted crowd favorite on Twitter, pop/rock group Serendipity took third place and was awarded $500.

The show was hosted by 2017 theatre alumnus Jamie Meun portraying his drag queen persona, “Aunty Cherry Chan.” Muen was the source of entertainment between each set by interacting with the audience with sassy life hacks and hilarious quips.

Meun said Biggest Mouth is significant for student bands because it provides an opportunity to perform and compete against one another.

“It’s just a really cool thing to see what Columbia students can do,” Meun said. “I hope Columbia students that came out tonight and saw the show were inspired to go home and draft out that project they’re working on or write a new song.”

Student Programming Board President and senior business and entrepreneurship major Elana Schmidt said her favorite part about Biggest Mouth is seeing the event come together.

Preparation for Biggest Mouth 2018 started in January and Schmidt found the event to be more fun this year because of the full audience.

“It felt like a big community of people enjoying the music together rather than a big, split audience,” Schmidt said.

Danzy said the competition helps young musicians hone their skills and learn from each other.

“[Biggest Mouth] helps us students showcase our talents,” Danzy said. “Everyone that performed here is my friend. I’m taking notes from every artist and I am applying it to what I can do better.”

Update: 6/7/2018 @ 3:30 p.m.: Jamie Meun’s last name was misspelled in a previous version of this article. The Chronicle regrets this error.