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The Gridiron: Putting Student and Local Bands on the Grid

| Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gridiron-WEBKeri O'Mara

[UPDATE: The Bridge Project has announced that the Student Expo will be moved from the Gridiron to the State Theatre in downtown South Bend.] 

Festival season may be over, but the music scene in South Bend still is going strong. This Friday, the Gridiron, at the old location of the College Football Hall of Fame, will host a Student Expo featuring local and student bands. The event is put on by The Bridge Project, who organized the South By South Bend music festival this past May, as well as the Downtown South Bend, The State of South Bend and The Music Village festivals.

Dan Courtney and Will Murray founded the Bridge Project last semester to, “address a need to connect area colleges with the city of South Bend through the creation and promotion of cultural events.” Dan also said, “the Gridiron Show will be a great way for South Bend residents to interact with students from Notre Dame and other area colleges in a fun and welcoming environment.”

This is absolutely the event to be at Friday night – it provides Notre Dame students an awesome opportunity to interact with and experience the greater community at its finest. What better way to get hyped up for the Michigan game than rocking out in a venue that looks like a football field?

The lineup for the show is solid, featuring a number of genres and representatives from South Bend, Indiana University South Bend and Notre Dame. The concert kicks off with Joshua Schleer, an acoustic musician from Indiana University South Bend. Following this will be Notre Dame group Jon Schommer and the Town Cuties, a folk band reminiscent of Of Monsters and Men or John Mayer, infusing acoustic and electric guitars, ukuleles, harmonicas and coolly-harmonized vocals. If you haven’t checked out their Bandcamp site yet, you should.

Also featured in the lineup is The Tides, a jamming indie-pop, surfer-rock group also based out of Indiana University South Bend. Inspired by the likes of Modest Mouse and Wavves, The Tides put the indie in Indiana. Further down the lineup is Simple Twist, a jazz/blues group based out of South Bend, and Ratboys, a group that the event’s Facebook page describes simply as “incredible.” Carp rock band The Rutabega and hard rock/progressive metal band Half Fiction also are set to play.

Wrapping up this one-of-a-kind show is Sober Sinners, an awesome punk rock band based out of Notre Dame. Garrity McOsker, lead singer for the band, is thrilled about the event.

“It’s the first show for Sober Sinners since we’ve been back for the school year, so I’m just excited to get on the mic and lose it again,” McOsker said. “I like to get active with the crowd when I perform, and the fact that I’ll be doing it in front of some new faces this time makes it all the better. I hope we can convert a few people in the audience and, through viewing the audacity of this band, they’ll realize they can start a band too. That’s always been my goal since I started Sober Sinners.”

Garrity was also excited about what this event means for the community.

“This event will be another opportunity to push the concept of the Bridge Project,” he said. “At Friday’s show, we will be exposing local music to students, while also exposing student bands to more South Bend locals. This is another great step for the project, and all those involved have done an excellent job executing it, so thank you to them.”

The sheer amount of diversity in this show is reason enough to go, plus you’ll make all your hipster friends back home jealous with your newfound knowledge of the sweet indie scene in South Bend. Beyond the music, however, this event is about developing culture and community, of which South Bend has plenty. If you haven’t had a chance to get past Eddy Street and the Notre Dame bubble, embrace the wonder that is South Bend. There is no better time than now.

According to the event’s Facebook page, Notre Dame students can get to the event for free using the Transpo bus system. Students should board the No. 7 Transpo bus that arrives at 4:58 PM and every half hour thereafter – be sure to show your student ID to ride for free. To get to the Gridiron, students should then get off at the Chase Tower at Main Street and Washington Street, then walk one block east.

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About Jimmy Kemper

Scene writer, Economics major, and Seinfeld enthusiast

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