Barbershop quartet rocks Battle of the Bands

Joe Shearer

Stage set for final round

The Harmony Grits, a barbershop quartet, stole the show at last night’s Battle of the Bands – the last night of the competition before the finals.

Mars Hill opened up the show with its upbeat acoustic rock as audience members clapped along. Laced with male and female vocals and bongo drums, the band played mostly originals.

Eric St. Jean, Mars Hill’s frontman and guitarist, said the band formed about six years ago and has undergone a number of lineup changes. Because some of the members are in school and some are not, he said, it’s difficult for the group to play together as much as they’d like, but he said they still have fun playing.

Dressed in tuxedos, the Harmony Grits followed with humorous songs about unlikely situations, such as Christopher Columbus coming to the New World.

“Please, Mr. Columbus, turn the ship around,” the group sang. “Take me back – I want to feel my two feet on the ground.”

Between songs, the quartet’s members, all of whom are in the Kent State Men’s Chorus, told the audience members obvious but well-thought-out one-liners.

“You know who the poorest guy in West Virginia is?” asked lead singer Taylor Belling, senior marketing major. “The tooth fairy.”

Belling is also in the finalist band NJs and the Jeff.

Another band, Falls Beneath, was scheduled to play at last night’s show but canceled its appearance.

Tenor Daniel Porter, senior political science major, said he thought the audience would appreciate the Harmony Grits’ original concept.

“As far as we know, we’re the only barbershop quartet at Kent,” Porter said. “Most barbershop quartets have 60- to 70-year-olds. I think it’ll be different; I think it’ll be interesting. Why not?”

The Harmony Grits will join Tropidelic, NJs and the Jeff and Annabel for the final round of Battle of the Bands on April 10 in the Rathskeller. The winner of the final round will go on to play at FlashFest.

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Joe Shearer at [email protected].