By Shelby Imes
How do college students usually spend their Friday nights? A more vital question might be: how much do college students usually spend on Friday nights? Between concert tickets, late-night pizza, or even Netflix subscription fees, Friday nights take a toll on the broke college kid’s wallet.
Thanks to the University Program Board, however, students may not have to look too far for something frugal and fun on a Friday night. Friday, September 15th kicked off the first of UPB’s Spotlight Sounds events of the year—giving students a chance to see the up-and-coming R&B act, Adrian Daniel, for free in TDU.
According to senior Ally Engelbrecht, UPB’s Director for Spotlight Sounds, the purpose of the events is to provide JMU students with a cheaper and alcohol-free alternative to more traditional, wallet-draining Friday activities by bringing a free concert to campus at least once a month, and
“If you still want to get down and get funky, people will come out here and dance on a Friday night,” she says. “You still get that really social atmosphere without any of the pressures of drinking or spending the money, or having to go off campus.”
As the Spotlight Sounds constitution promises, Friday night’s showcase brought “a diverse array of artists and genres” to the TDU stage.
Openers for Spotlight Sounds are usually smaller Harrisonburg local acts; opening for the R&B band Adrian Daniel was a laxer, jazz-rock hybrid band playing under the name of Miss Angel Bird, comprised of two JMU students and WXJM radio heads.
UPB usually seeks out headlining artists by reading music magazines, checking out BandCamp and AudioTree’s artist of the month, and browsing festival lineups. “For Spotlight, we usually scroll all the way to the bottom to find the really good people,” says Engelbrecht.
UPB’s Spotlight Sounds committee hit the jackpot with headliner Adrian Daniel, a charismatic and vibrant Brooklynite who ignited the venue with his electric stage presence and neo-soul vibe.
“He killed it,” says first-year student Dylan Bernetich.
Daniel’s innovative music style is what drew UPB’s attention, a statement in HighLark Magazine saying that he’s “leading the way, elevating music to new and greater heights.”
At Friday’s Spotlight Sounds, interspersed in his new-wave vocals and live band’s groovy flow, Daniel’s connection with the audience was the highlight of the night. Although the turnout for the event was humble, the energetic performance attracted attendees toward the front of the stage to dance and sing along.
“I was up out of my seat for sure,” says junior Haley Powers. She stumbled upon the performance as she was passing though TDU and was instantly hooked. “I couldn’t leave once I was here.”
When the performance was over and Daniel stepped back into TDU to help his bandmates pack up for the night, a small crowd formed around him, praising his performance and asking for pictures. That seems to be the beauty of UPB’s Spotlight Sounds; above all, it gives artists and music lovers a chance to connect at a free JMU venue.
Stay tuned for more updates from UPB on next month’s Spotlight Sounds event, hosted on October 27th in TDU!