Smile Politely

Godly the Ruler owned Canopy Club crowd Tuesday night for a good cause

A vocalist and guitarist are performing together on stage, illuminated by the colorful display in the background. The vocalist, shirtless and using a handheld microphone, sings with an open mouth, while the guitarist, holding an electric guitar, is partly obscured by the microphone stand, looking towards the vocalist with a smile.
Godly the Ruler by Derrick Philips

Tuesday, April 23rd at The Canopy Club in Urbana, Illinois, the local music scene took a vibrant leap forward with “State of the Arts,” a benefit show that not only showcased an eclectic mix of bands but also supported a cause that resonates deeply in today’s tech-centric world. Organized by Jam.Town and the AI@UIUC (AI Club at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), the event raised funds for B[U]ILT, an initiative dedicated to empowering Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students in technology.

Venus Overdrive by Derrick Philips

Venus Overdrive, a trio known for their spirited performances across local venues and house shows on campus, kicked off the event. With Marieli Lopez’s piercing high vocals leading the charge, the band delivered a snarling punk anthem right off the bat that set the tone for the evening. As they transitioned through their set, they played high-energy garage band punk, but also introduced one softer, more melodic ballad, inviting the audience to dance along, showcasing their versatile musical range from emo to shoegaze.

Sitrus Sol by Derrick Philips

Sitrus Sol brought a refreshing calm after the stormy energy of Venus Overdrive, offering an experience that was both visually and sonically mesmerizing. Comprised of the duo Matt Harsh and Adam Brown, their set was an exploration of serene soundscapes, marked by a distinctive psychedelic flair that was as entrancing as it was soothing.

The duo opened their performance with a piece that began with the plinking similar to classical Spanish guitar, setting a contemplative mood. As their set progressed, it became clear that Sitrus Sol’s music is a rich tapestry woven with threads of psychedelia, ambient electronica, and a touch of folk. The gentle strumming of acoustic guitars melded with digital beats and ethereal keyboard melodies created a sound that was atmospheric and expansive.

Their music, characterized by mellow tones and a gentle cadence, seemed to float through the club, enveloping the audience in a sonic hug. Visuals projected on the screens complemented their sound, enhancing the dream-like quality of their performance. Songs like “Next to Me,” dedicated to all the “sad people,” resonated deeply, their slow-tempo guitars and haunting lyrics echoing the melancholic beauty of their musical influences.

Ocean Child by Derrick Philips

Ocean Child, hailing from Chicago, brought a more polished pop-rock vibe to the stage, drawing some on nostalgic influences while maintaining a fresh and engaging sound. Their opening song mixed the driving force of rock with dreamy overtones, highlighted by the lead singer’s voice, which carried a distinct, comforting familiarity, maybe a little of Tom Petty, in his own voice. This set the stage for a performance that skillfully blended pop-savvy melodies with catchy rhythms.

The band demonstrated their musical depth with standout performances, including a heartfelt rendition of the first song the lead singer ever wrote, introducing it as a poignant love ballad that showcased mature songwriting beyond his years. They ended their set with a rousing cover of The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There”, which also energized the crowd, infusing the night with spirited rock and roll fervor.

Throughout their set, Ocean Child balanced musical complexity with accessible pop sensibilities, making their performance a memorable highlight of the evening. Their confident stage presence and keen ability to engage the audience left a lasting impression. The crowd cheered their appreciation as they left the stage.

Godly the Ruler by Derrick Philips

Godly the Ruler capped the night with a performance that defied simple genre classification, blending elements of punk, rock, and rap into a dynamic showcase. Opening with an aggressive rock song that contradicted my initial expectations, they demonstrated a versatility that set the tone for the rest of their set. Their stage presence was commanding, reminiscent of the Beastie Boys, or even Rage Against the Machine, in its raw energy and spontaneity, as they transitioned from singing to delivering rap verses with seamless agility. The guitarist and drummer complemented their energy perfectly, losing themselves in the music, the guitarist so engrossed that his hat flew off during the raucous first song.

During the performance, Godly the Ruler engaged with the audience in unique ways, including a trivia segment where they tested the crowd’s knowledge with quirky questions, adding a playful layer to the show. Despite a somewhat smaller crowd than they were used to playing, their interaction ensured that everyone felt a part of the performance, creating an intimate atmosphere. Their music, which included a notable track titled “Off With Your Head,” melded punk rock vibes with rap, creating a mash-up that was energetically delivered and well-received by the audience.

As the night progressed, Godly the Ruler’s sincerity and passion were palpable. Their ability to blend different musical styles while maintaining a high energy level made for an engaging performance. Godly the Ruler performed as though they were captivating a packed stadium, ensuring that every attendee was moving to the rhythm and fully immersed in the experience.

Throughout the event, organizers and bands highlighted their support for the night’s benefactor, B[U]ILT. The night served as more than just a musical performance; it showcased how the arts and technology can intersect to foster social change, emphasizing the transformative power of music to inspire inclusivity. This innovative collaboration not only spotlighted emerging artists but also demonstrated the significant impact of integrating creative industries with societal progress initiatives, underlining the commitment to using their platforms to champion equality in the tech world.

A musician with curly hair plays a white electric bass guitar and sings into a microphone on stage. The stage lighting casts a moody ambiance, suggesting a soulful and engaging musical performance.
Venus Overdrive by Anh-Khoi Pham (@photographypun on IG)
A guitarist with long, curly hair is making a lively facial expression while playing an electric guitar. The musician is wearing a t-shirt and appears to be in a moment of joyful performance, contributing to the lively atmosphere of the concert.
Sitrus Sol by Anh-Khoi Pham (@photographypun on IG)
A shirtless performer energetically singing into a microphone on stage, with a whistle in his mouth. The performance is dramatically lit, emphasizing the intensity of the moment, indicative of a passionate live music show.
Godly the Ruler by Anh-Khoi Pham (@photographypun on IG)
A musician plays an electric guitar on stage, captured in mid-motion, which suggests energetic performance. The stage is set with a drum set in the background and is illuminated by bright stage lights, creating flares that enhance the dynamic atmosphere of a live concert.
Godly the RulerAnh-Khoi Pham (@photographypun on IG)
Godly the Ruler by Derrick Philips
Godly the Ruler by Derrick Philips
Godly the Ruler by Derrick Philips

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