Arts & Culture

Diverse student artists rock out at B-Side Magazine launch party

New online publication focuses on showcasing local artists, aims to foster broader music community

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The definition of a record’s B-side has gradually evolved over the years. Often the neglected side of a record, the B-side has become a tag for offbeat and untapped works that depart from mainstream platitudes. A new online campus publication bearing the name B-Side Magazine officially launched this weekend. By showcasing the works of local and student artists and providing a space for musical exploration, the magazine’s founders intend to stimulate music scenes on College Hill and in the greater Providence community.

Before B-Side, Brown did not have any music publications, setting it behind peer institutions, said Ben Williams ’16, co-founder of B-Side. It was “embarrassing” that Brown did not have a music publication when there was “so much going on that wasn’t being talked about,” he said.

The magazine officially launched with an indoor concert Saturday afternoon in the Underground in the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center. As audience members trickled into the venue,  Clyde Lawrence ’15 and his band continuously blasted out Stevie Wonder classics such as “Living in a City” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” Boasting a voice fraught with raw dynamics and raspy vocals almost too expressive for his age, Lawrence’ recalled and contested some of the greatest voices reviving the tides of soul music, namely Sam Smith, John Legend and Ed Sheeran.

Lawrence’s versions almost sounded like the “B-Side” of the original songs. Retaining their original charms, Clyde’s versions came off as more funky and whimsical, with pithy base riffs and playful keyboard. The lively energy transformed the afternoon event into a clamorous weekend night bar scene.

After the official announcement of the launch party, Lawrence performed a rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s iconic anthem “Crazy.” His more protracted version showered the room with palatable harmonies, creating an intimate and sensual ambience.

Lawrence also brought forth original work that showed off his neo-soul style. In his coarse but charismatic voice persisted restless passion that mingled with the shifts of chords and runs of melody.

DAP the Contract took the stage after Lawrence and performed a rap vocal mash-up duet entitled “Goodbye, You Are Welcome” with Abbey Perrault ’16. Perrault’s airy voice drifted by, contrasting with the intensity of DAP’s rapping.

This was a perfect segue to DAP’s more provocative pieces. A natural performer, DAP — the stage name of Dolapo Akinkugbe ’16 — brought almost all of the audience members to their feet, as they grooved to the rapper’s original songs “It’s All Right” and “Holiday.” Ensuing artists managed to keep up the hype — Sean, Butter, Sebastian and Sincere rolled out a series of strong performances.

The launch party successfully generated publicity for the magazine, Williams said.  “A concert seemed to be the best way to show what we are about.”

Ariana Pather ’18 said she was impressed by the diversity of the artists and their performances.

“One part I really enjoyed was sort of the variations of acts. … They had artists speaking various languages, they had rapping and something that’s a little bit more soft,” Pather said. “I felt like I got to see Brown’s talent and also how diverse that talent is.”

As a fledgling publication, B-Side still struggles with funding and has yet to establish a full-blown plan, Williams said. As the magazine does not currently produce print issue,Williams stressed that the publication’s website plays an indispensable role.

“If you want to listen to music, you can’t listen to it from the newspaper,” Williams said, adding that the publication will remain online-only for at least the next few months.

B-Side’s website is beautifully designed with a minimalist style. The website offers viewers diverse content, including music reviews and features. The local aspect of the publication, which covers the music scene throughout Rhode Island, also made it possible for the website to put up an exhaustive list of local events as well as video profiles of local artists.

While still in its youth, the magazine has attracted many students hoping to play a role in a conversation about music at Brown.

“I thought (B-Side) was a unique idea that I hadn’t really heard of before,” said Scott Theer ’18, a contributing writer for B-Side. “I’m so invested in music and I listen to so much of it already.”

Looking ahead, B-Side intends to hold more events like the concert despite financial constraints, Williams said, adding that hosting such events align with the group’s mission to foster the music community on campus.

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