By Alex Conover
Another Gaslight has come and gone. For this writer, it was bittersweet — the show was good, but it was a little sad to watch my last Gaslight from the audience instead of the stage.
Every year, there are concerns raised about how the graduating seniors will be replaced in these sorts of shows. The great thing about Gaslight 2011 was that plenty of young talent stepped up and proved that the campus variety shows will be strong for years to come.
Best vocals — Tied between Matt Kirk (“Highway to Hell”) and Dan Streefland (“Love Shack”)
Kirk’s British swag was a great way to kick off the show. Streefland wowed me in his Gaslight debut with an impressive robotic singing/talking combination that was highly appropriate for “Love Shack” (complete with Hawaiian shirt and safari hat).
Best keyboards — Kalin Bangasser (many songs)
Bangasser held down the keyboards in the corner for several tracks, most notably in the cover of Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You.” She proved her versatility by immediately playing a hip-hop cover afterwards.
Best drums — Rachel Lamberty (“No Scrubs”)
While her friends rocked TLC’s vocals up front, Lamberty kept the groove going with a NASTY hi-hat pattern that could only be described as mid-90’s. Ever since transferring to SMU this year, Lamberty has repeatedly impressed me with her rock-solid play on the drumset.
Best guitar — Andy Bauer (“Around the World”)
While the lead guitar was… inconsistent, Bauer tackled the incredibly tough bass groove made famous by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Look this song up on YouTube and then imagine a mere college student playing the bass part. Yeah.
Best stage presence — Ben Scott (“Wake Up”)
I admit it — I’m a sucker for songs with over 20 people on stage. I’m even more of a sucker for songs where the lead vocalist is arbitrarily beating a large drum with an angry passion. With shades of Gaslight 2008’s Flaming Lips cluster-jam, Scott looked like he could have led a revolution.
Best energy — Cook ‘Em Up (“All the Things I’ve Done”)
Following up a powerful performance at Relay for Life, SMU’s latest cover band came with a solid sequel. Rookie Tom Conry impressed on lead vocals while supplemented by the electric duo of Matt Polum and Katie Sapper on backup.
Best marriage proposal — Lance Thompson
After performing a song by a certain teenage Canadian sensation, Thompson climbed down from the stage and whipped out a ring for his girlfriend, who said yes. Massive amounts of “awww” and “oh my gosh” comments emerged from the female portion of the crowd. I have to say that this is the best wedding proposal I have ever seen at a SMU Gaslight show.