It was a scene straight out of Guitar Hero. A chicken-suited guitarist strutted on an industrial loading dock while covering the Allman Brothers Band. The scene drew the eyes of concertgoers as Bull Street Garage headlined the first installment of a four-part Monday afternoon concert series, called "Rock on the Dock,” on March 14.
The concert's comes out of the music practicum class, a Capstone course of the Music Industry Studies Program. The class-wide project draws on all aspects of the music industry and have showings on April 11, April 18 and May 2 at 2:30 p.m. at the loading dock behind the Koger Center on Park Street. The shows are free to attend.
“There are a lot of classes that are so theoretical and so content-based,” Thomas NcNerney, a fourth-year marketing student, said. "Having the opportunity to do something that's this tangible and really getting to experience what it would be like to put on a concert — what goes in on the production aspects of it, the setup, the promotion — you get that all around experiential learning.”
McNerney books talent for the shows and said the project is the brainchild of Jeremy Polley, the course’s instructor. In the past, the course had culminated in individual projects, but this year, the course was divided into groups to organize and promote the concert series.
While the name may suggest exclusively rock-and-roll tunes, expect singer-songwriter and hip-hop-themed days during future events.
“It's gonna be kind of a different vibe each time. Each event is somewhat focused around the genre, or at least a style,” McNerney said. “Bull Street [Garage] is a full five-piece band, very Jam Band-esque. The next one coming up is more like singer-songwriter, the girl who's headlining, Mia Green, it's just her and her guitar. And then we're gonna have a hip-hop one, and I think the last one is going to go back to traditional rock.”
Booking talent has come naturally to McNerney and others in the class as the music school is “tight-knit.”
“Everybody kind of knows each other because [the Music Industry Studies Program] is so small and so many of them are incredibly talented musicians,” McNerney said.
Local connections are grown in the course — with a band member from Bull Street Garage and fourth-year public relations student Mia Green both studying in the Music Industry program. Oatmeal Jenkins, the headliner of the April 18 show, is managed by another student in the class, fourth-year sports and entertainment management student Cullen Resolute.
Resolute found that to be an effective manager you need to set aside your personal opinions and do what's best for the artist.
“To be a manager and stand out, especially in this musical landscape, I mean, it's so hard because there are just so many artists,” Resolute said. “You really, really got to think about what nobody else is doing and try to capitalize on it.”
That means bringing John Sykes, a fourth-year management and marketing student who performs as Oatmeal Jenkins, to Rock on the Dock.
“Bringing [Oatmeal Jenkins] to Rock on the Dock was a no-brainer because everyone loves him in my class,” Resolute said.
Resolute even promised a “kick-ass time" that's free and on campus.
“I think the biggest part is you're gonna see people who have straight passion,” Resolute said. “They're not doing this for pay. They're doing it to get out, get some reps on stage and to perform in front of their friends. And honestly, I think that's the most pure type of performance — whenever they're doing it all for themselves.”
Oatmeal Jenkins said he wants to be genuine in his songs and his performance.
“It's funny because everybody has the idea of, 'yeah, this white kid puts music out on SoundCloud,'” Oatmeal Jenkins said. “'It's this kid that you know from high school that like, oh yeah, he sells weed. He lives with his mom, maybe he went to college, maybe failed out freshman year.' You get that stigma.”
Oatmeal Jenkins said he intends on establishing himself outside of that stigma. He said that Monday afternoon is a tough time to perform, but he’s confident in where he’s at as a rapper and a performer. He said the show represents the end of his time juggling school and music. He is looking forward to focusing on rapping after he graduates.
“I'm gonna have at least a year with my boy who wants to be my manager, at least a year to get in the mud,” Oatmeal Jenkins said.
The concert itself could be a launchpad for performers and professionals alike. The course is divided into three teams to expand their presence: one focuses on the concert itself, one runs a podcast and another is organizing a Music Industry Expo.
In addition to his duties as Oatmeal Jenkins’ manager, Resolute is working on recruiting speakers and sponsors for the Expo. The goal of the Expo is to serve as a bridge between Music Industry students and future careers akin to the Darla Moore School of Business Expo.