Last week on Saturday November 11th, College of Charleston’s 1770 Records hosted Band Overboard, the 5th annual Boat Show located at the Charleston Marina. The sold-out show sailed around the Charleston Harbor on the Carolina Queen and featured local and regional artists Abstract-That Rapper, Wildisiak, See Water, and Baby Baby.
The night kicked off when Wildisiak hit the stage. Wildisiak took the opening pressure and leveraged it into an array of liveliness that instantly engaged the crowd. The band originally started out when Keith Wildstein (vocals/guitar) and Josh Cronin (drums) met through attending classes together at the College of Charleston. While creating their distinct sound, they developed into what can be described as a high-energy funk/rock band. Revealed through their performances of songs like “Fish in The Sea” and “Planet Funk,” Wildisiak undoubtedly set the energy level for the duration of the show. The young band members have only been together since 2016, but their rock-influenced spirit and stage presence they exuded that night could be mistaken for anything but a band just getting started in the game.
Abstract-That Rapper took the stage next, alternating genres from funk and rock to hip-hop lyricism. Abstract first came together when artist Julian Harrell’s band Public Safety dissolved, leaving only him and former drummer Oleg left remaining. Over the years Howell connected with other artists who caught his eye including Speakerbox, Kolpeace, Willy Soul, and Noah Jones, eventually developing into Abstract-That Rapper. “During the time, I was looking for something to spice up the aesthetic of my live shows,” Howell noted. Julian found that aesthetic in Kolpeace, an artist who adds a unique feature by using fire to create eye-capturing live paintings to each of Abstract’s performances. “The one thing constant in all of these relationships wasn’t necessarily the music, but the place where the music was made on 48 America Street. And that has been the main headquarters for us to get together chill and further develop what we do now.”
Artist Kolpeace live painting during Abstract-That Rapper’s set. @d.salberg_imaging.
Howell describes the new sound that was collectively created from the merge of these artists as “something very pure and organic in reference to hip hop.” If you get the chance to watch Abstract live, the authenticity and natural talent of their sound is the first thing you’ll likely notice before the ignited paintings. With the unlikely transition from jam band to hip-hop, Abstract kept the energy steady through his genuine crowd connection and universal lyrics. In 2018, Abstract plans on releasing a compilation of 24 songs called Abstract-Perspectives. The proceeds from this upcoming compilation will be donated to Soul Power Productions, a non-profit production company that works toward spreading love, arts advocacy, education and production technologies.
Next was Baby Baby, an up and coming Atlanta based band that amplified the enthusiasm of the crowd with their self-proclaimed “party rock” genre. When asked how the band has developed since first starting out in 2009, lead singer and guitarist Tez Brooks stated, “Our development has far surpassed our origin. Right now we are in the midst of creating a new scene where everyone’s invited to party and/or cry.” He states that their sound “incorporates the most fun aspects of every genre of music.” The band definitely had no problem turning the sold-out Carolina Queen into an all-invited party, rocking out with the crowd to their original songs including “Girl Bye,” “Hang in there” and “Keep on Dancing.” Baby Baby is known for their distinctively wild performances. By the end of their high-energy set, it’s safe to say nobody was left sitting in their seat, much less with two feet still on the ground. Describing their genre as “party rock” doesn’t do the band justice with a set like theirs. They take what it means to experience an entertaining show and triple it. Baby Baby will continue to release music in 2018 and plan to drop a music video in the near future as well.
Members of Baby Baby. Grant Wallace (of Baby Baby).
After the first three acts, there was no doubt that anticipation had been built in the moments before See Water took the stage. See Water, a popular Charleston native band, has played at numerous venues across the Southeast and the U.S virgin Islands, bringing their unique sound alongside with nationally touring bands including Badfish, Passafire, and Sun-Dried Vibes. The band’s sound can be described as an eclectic mix of punk, ska, reggae and occasionally metal. Riley of See Water explained, “When we write music, we don’t really think about going for a specific genre, we just do what feels right.” See Water unquestionably met their fans expectations at Band Overboard, an ample justification for the Triple A radio rotations the band has received as well as the multiple features on some of Charleston’s most popular media outlets including a debut on Fox 24 Charleston and the Charleston city paper. With high energy being the theme of the night, Riley emphasized, “Energy is always a key component, even in our more mellow songs. We like to rock out, that’s for sure.” For 2018, See Water has multiple projects that fans can look forward to including new music, shows, and music videos. Riley added, “This is our passion and we are working hard to make it our career. We appreciate every ounce of support we get from our fans. Charleston and 1770 Records have been particularly helpful on our path and we’ll always be grateful for that.” See Water will also be featured on 1770 Records upcoming vinyl Local Suspects, which is expected to be released in the spring of 2018.
In all, the show represented much of what 1770 Records embodies: A community in which a diverse group can come together and connect through music. The label, which intertwines with the club and the Music in the Marketplace class, gives emerging artists and students interested in the music business an opportunity to get started in the music industry. Through live events, album releases, networking and promotion, students and artists are able to experience life in the modern day music business while promoting local music. Heather McDonald, Professor and head of 1770 Records says, “Our slogan is ‘Entertaining while Educating,’ and I always thought that was the best way to put it.” In 2018, the label will be working towards additional shows in the spring, the release of Local Suspects, and gearing up for next years annual boat show.
Featured image by Kenzie Mackenzie.