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Last Thursday Night: student artist showcase at Legends

John Darr | Monday, November 18, 2013

Last Thursday night, Legends hosted a concert showcasing student bands and songwriters. The atmosphere was chilled out and comfortable – a welcome contrast to many of the venue’s events. Over the course of the night, students wandered in to cheer on their friends and soak in the homegrown music. It was the sort of place where a freshman like me can wander in alone and end up being pulled into the banter of friendly upperclassmen.

The show was opened by sophomore guitarist/vocalist Emily Migliore. Thursday marked her first performance at Legends; given her composure, one would never be able to tell. Emily’s performance was characterized by weaving fingerpicked guitar lines held down by her warm alto voice. It’s the sort of voice found in the final moments of an indie film, when the lead female starts singing, and you’re like, “Come on indie films, these random girls always end up with ridiculously good voices.” But no one was complaining. Emily covered a host of songs ranging from indie classics to lesser-known tunes. Highlights included (but were hardly limited to) crowd favorite “We’re Gonna Be Friends” by the White Stripes, grin-along “Lost In My Mind” by The Head and the Heart, and that one magical note at the end of “Broadripple is Burning” (by Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s).  The set was comfy, cozy and over too soon. If you ever have the opportunity to see Emily in concert and you don’t go, you, sir, are a scrub.

Next up was a classic Notre Dame band, Basement Fish. The Fish are a local powerhouse; they’ve won two Battles of the Bands now. Rumors are they’re prepping for a third victory before disbanding, since most members of the band are seniors and will be taking off next year. With their set last night, it’s easy to see why this band is a winner. Basement Fish goes, so to speak, hard in the paint. With thundering drums, powerful guitars and a lead singer who commands the microphones like a champion, Basement Fish plays big music. 

The setlist boasted a series of stadium-size covers spanning artists from The Who to Bruce Springsteen as well as summer hits like “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind and “Only Wanna Be With You” by Hootie & the Blowfish. Basement Fish throws a good party – next show, you should be sure to invite yourself over.

For the final act, singer-songwriter senior Amanda Ly took the stage. Starting out with a cover of Red Hands featuring uber-talented friend David Augustus, Amanda’s set was a testament to her accomplishments as a musician. Her songs are extraordinarily well written; to use the word “professional” would be an understatement. Full of emotion and extremely well-executed, Amanda’s songs are deeply personal and yet never stray into the realm of cloying sentimentality. Every song I felt my heart nodding along with Ly’s lyrics of love and strength. That kind of power is pretty rare these days. As Ly said during the concert, each song is like “a message in a bottle, and if it touches at least one person, then it serves its purpose.” Purpose served.

All in all, the show was a huge success. With a number of talented musicians and a variety of styles, Student Band Night was fit for any audience member – even one who didn’t personally know any of the bands. 

So next time it happens, wander on down to Legends, sit back and enjoy the show. It’ll make you even more proud to be at ND.

Contact John Darr at jdarr@nd.edu