The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Brazos County officials are distributing free backpacks, school supplies and gift cards for K-12 students on July 12 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bryan High Silver Campus Cafeteria.
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Texas A&M infielder Ali Camarillo (2) thros to first during Texas A&M’s game against Louisiana at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Regional Final at Olsen Field on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

Bryan welcomes artists for 10th anniversary of First Friday

First Friday

Downtown Bryan is celebrating the 10th anniversary of First Friday this week, and with it, a mix of artists and musicians will be pouring into the area’s streets and walkways. One such musical group is THE NIGHTOWLS, a 13-member Motown band from Austin that will be playing at the Grand Stafford Theatre for free at 7 p.m. Friday. The Battalion Life & Arts writer Jack Riewe spoke with lead singer Ryan Harkrider about the group’s unique sound and surprising number of members.

THE BATTALION: Thirteen people is a lot. Why so many members? 

HARKRIDER: We’re very much inspired by the 60s and 70s Motown and soul bands, so we try to coddle not only our style of music, but the presentation of our show after that as well. Each of us are performers, dancers — we love to perform together. We not only have more fun, but the choreography and the dance moves we do together is much more powerful when we do it all together.

THE BATTALION: How did the band members meet? 

HARKRIDER: I’m the only one who’s from Austin — born and raised. Everybody else is an Austin transplant. They’re from California, Connecticut to Wisconsin, just all over the U.S., and they came to Austin to play music. We found each other in similar soul projects. Me and the guitar player, Amos, formed the band three or four years ago now. We found all these talented players, singers, performers, and found it was time to make something of our own.

THE BATTALION: How do you go about recreating a 1970s Motown style of music?

HARKRIDER: At this point we’re not trying to recreate anything anymore. When we started the band, yeah that type of music inspired us all. It’s something that we grew up on so it happens very naturally. It basically comes out when we’re writing songs. I’m the principle songwriter so when I write a song, I bring it to the band, we rearrange, rewrite, write horn parts, or lyrics when needed. It’s very much a collected effort.

THE BATTALION: What’s your favorite thing about soul music?

HARKRIDER: I like a couple things about it. In a day in age of music that is becoming more electronic, more digital, more on a computer, I still think there is a power in live music, a power in live musicians. I think those things are very powerful. I love how striking the live show can be, and being able to perform with a big sound in a big band in front of a lot of people, being able to sing and dance and all those classic things that are still very relevant today. There are a lot of things to work with with a soul band. There are horns, there are girls, and for me as a writer I love all the different instruments available to me as a songwriter. It’s very fun, it can be difficult at times, but in the end it’s very liberating. I like soul music because it allows you to sing songs that are both very passionate about being broken hearted, about loss, all types of emotions but it’s also a style of music that’s very conducive to dancing and finding the groove. It encompasses a lot of different things.

THE BATTALION: How would you describe your shows? 

HARKRIDER: Our shows are something we really pride ourselves on. It’s a ten-piece — sometimes eleven-piece band. It’s very striking, the shows are about connecting with people, there’s something for everybody. The band is incredible, we have some incredible talent. If you want to hear good songs, the songs are good. Lastly, it’s a feel good show, it’s about getting up, and it’s about dancing, it’s about being entertained the entire night. You’re not going to be just a spectator, you’re going to be a participant this show. We want people to get up on their feet, we want them to dance all night.

THE BATTALION: Do you enjoy playing for a slightly younger crowd like a college crowd?

HARKRIDER: Absolutely. That’s something our style of music — there’s really no demographic for it, that’s something we’re finding out. Old people love it because they can identify with it and young people love it because of the love, the heartache, the dancing, the show. It’s something everybody can relate to. In that aspect it’s been really fun for us, it has really not been a particular market that we’ve been drawn to, it’s very universal.

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