Mixtapes and Candy Hearts are a mixed bag

The Rathskeller isn’t exactly Webster Hall. In such a small venue, it’s easy to accept low-key performances from the weekly CUB Rat shows. But last Friday night, it became clear that some bands can rock just about any size stage.

Mixtapes’ energy gets the Rat jumping. (Leia Smith / Staff Photographer)

Candy Hearts, a northeast-native band, opened the show, blending blaring bass and drum beats with the mellow vocal melodies of lead singer Mariel Loveland. Signed by Violently Happy Records/Bridge 9 Records, Candy Hearts had some established fans from the College come check out their show.

“I really like the pop punk genre,” freshman open options major Olivia Higbee said. “I learned about Candy Hearts from a few of my friends.” Higbee said that although the band’s music is just starting out, they have a promising future.

When Candy Hearts announced their single “Miles and Interstates,” a pumped fan proudly yelled, “Oh hell yeah!”

Candy Hearts had some cool lyrics and the drummer was an Energizer Bunny, but by the time a guitar solo in “Tongue Tied” rolled around, the vocals that were intriguing in the first few songs sounded tired and repetitive. Meant to sound sarcastic, the vocals ended up sounding apathetic, and the enthusiasm of the night suffered because of it.

Just in time to revamp the energy of the night, Mixtapes took to the stage.

“We learned at Warped Tour that you’re supposed to scream at your fans,” band singer/guitarist Ryan Rockwell said. And so he did.

From the first song, Mixtapes owned the spotlight. The four bandmates jumped to their songs like they were playing them the first time, and they flopped their heads with an infectious enthusiasm. Between songs, the crowd laughed as band members bantered about who was more talented.  These Ohio natives, signed to No Sleep Records in 2012, were recognized for their dynamic performance.

“I love how energetic they get,” sophomore early childhood education major Sharon Wetter said.

Points for honesty, too. When a guy in the audience requested the song “Hey Baby,” Ryan sighed and said “I really don’t want to play this song, but I will for you.”

The lyrics for “Hey Baby” are as fun and snarky as the band themselves.

“I know ‘Teenage Wasteland’ is good, everyone says that, but that record sucks so grow up,” Mixtapes’ vocalist crooned.

The show continued to highlight the great harmony between the two lead singers and varied bass and guitar riffs, interspersed with anecdotes of the band’s experiences.   You could tell that Mixtapes was having a blast, and so was the crowd.

In the end, Mixtapes gave the audience a show surpassing the price of any ticket.

“We’re really good,” said Ryan, “but if we mess this up, I think this is free.”