Michigan bands rock out for students at Bands in the Ballroom
Flint Eastwood’s Jax Anderson battled through a cold to perform in front of dozens of MSU students on Feb. 9 in the Union Ballroom.
Anderson gave a high energy performance while speaking to a room full of eager students with one overall message: work hard.
“You can have all the talent in the world and the person that works harder than you will succeed more than you,” Anderson said. “Talent is 10 percent of it, how hard you work is majority of it. If you’re not working every day and you’re not treating it like your job, then it’s not going to ever be your job.”
Anderson grew up in Detroit, where she said her surroundings influenced her unique pop sound, rigid style and powerful stage performance. Anderson came from a poor background but kept her mind on music. Her mindset has landed her a record deal with Neon Gold out of New York.
“The music scene in Michigan has always been this scene that felt like it was very D.I.Y. and grassroots in every aspect, and I feel like it has always just been this mentality of just do it and don’t let anything hold you back,” Anderson said.
Anderson is the driving force behind Flint Eastwood but is accompanied by her backing band, which includes drummer Judson Branam and bassist Clay Carnill. Anderson will be going on her most ambitious tour yet starting in March.
“It is just always this thing of like let’s take what we have done and let’s challenge ourselves and let’s push ourselves a little bit more,” Anderson said. “I like to think of myself as an artist who will never forget my roots and never forget where I have come from.”
Opening rock band The War Balloons included a group of three men who met in high school and have been playing together ever since.
Members included lead singer and guitarist Kylash Sivakumar, drummer Cameron Varner and bassist Kosta Kapellas. Two of the three members have ties to MSU as an alumnus or a current student.
“I love these guys so just us playing together we just kind of click and we have built a chemistry so that in itself is fun when you can just kind of jam out and feel very comfortable,” Sivakumar, an alumnus, said. “Performing in general, I just love shredding solos.”
Senior Varner is studying media and information. After getting his first drum set Varner made it his goal to learn everything he could about music.
“When I got to college at first I tried to go into music and then I switched into something really random, like zoology, and then I switched to media and information and the whole time I was doing the whole switch thing I was listening to these professors talk and I was like, ‘How do they know everything about this one subject?’” Varner said. “The only thing I know most about is music and I still don’t know everything about it. It is really one of the things I am best at, so it does feel like home on stage.”
The band currently has a single called "Shakedown." The band is currently working on songs to make an album. Varner said MSU has played a role in his music career.
“I don’t know how I got into MSU, but I did,” Varner said. “I was thinking like, ‘Oh man, if I don’t get into MSU it will be way harder to play music and plus MSU was just one of my dream schools to go to.”