Biggest Mouth packs Metro

By Samuel Charles

Amid strobe lights, stacks of amplifiers and a screaming audience, some of Columbia’s musical talent took the stage at the Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., on April 27 for the annual Biggest Mouth competition, organized by the Student Programming Board. Thirteen bands and performers appeared, all vying for a cash prize and other rewards.

Three judges declared Carbon Tigers, a five-piece indie rock outfit, the winner. Along with the $5,000 prize, the band was awarded studio time at Rax Trax Recording Studio, 3126 N. Greenview Ave., and a tour consultation from Indie On The Move, a touring and band-booking company.

The doors opened at the Metro at 6 p.m., and the performances began an hour later. After Katz Company, the last band to perform, concluded at 9:30 p.m., Vice President of Student Affairs Mark Kelly took the stage to announce Carbon Tigers’ victory.

“The most talented amongst a bevy of talent, congratulations, Carbon Tigers,” Kelly announced to raucous applause.

Throughout the night, audience members were encouraged to vote for their favorite performer. The audience’s favorite was the first band that performed, Pearls and Bones. Katz Company placed second in the judges’ voting.

Carbon Tigers has been playing shows at different venues across Chicago since 2009. They said their $5,000 prize will be put toward buying a van to help them tour in new areas outside the city.

Prizes contributed by sponsors were raffled off between performances. Some included merchandise from American Apparel and Apple Inc.

Because there were more than a dozen performers, all were allotted seven minutes of stage time.

Most acts chose to play non-stop, typically melding two songs together, while others used their time differently. The alternative rock/soul group Harmonious Dynasty played a short video before they took the stage, which gave them time to play one song. Hatie Parmeter, an acoustic singer/songwriter, chose to incorporate some audience interaction into her set, but managed to play two songs.

Because time was a factor the whole night, each band used the same community drum kit instead of setting up their own.

Kelly aroused the crowd with a reminder of Manifest on May 13 and another version of his “Hell Yeah!” liturgy which he delivered at Convocation 2010.

“Are every one of you going to be blowing us away at Manifest?” Kelly asked.

Without hesitation, the crowd gave him the response he was looking for.

“We’re going to show the world that Columbia is the place where young talent comes together,” he said.