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Student musicians ‘try hard’ and win spot in Firefly lineup

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For two hours on Friday afternoon, members of Captain Kidd cooped themselves up in guitarist Eric Blaha’s room. Voting for the Firefly Big Break competition ended at noon. The competition would give the band with the most fan-votes an opportunity to play the four-day festival that takes place in Dover, Delaware, the weekend of June 18.

On Friday, it was down to two bands.

Winners were to be announced at 2 p.m., leaving Captain Kidd waiting and constantly refreshing Firefly’s Twitter page.

“What they did to us was totally cruel,” said bassist Andrew Gutierrez. “Suspense was killing us.”

At 2 p.m. exactly, Firefly tweeted that the band was the newest addition to the festival’s lineup — a lineup that includes acts such as Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon, Snoop Dogg and Morrissey.

The members of Captain Kidd — all Ohio State students — proceeded to freak out.

“It was a Kodak moment,” Blaha said.

For a little over a week, the band hustled for votes. They created a Facebook event, inviting people to vote for them. They sent mass Facebook messages, prompting the site to ask them several times if they were bots.

“We went nuts for votes, like, we were total try hards,” Blaha said.

The band, however, entered the contest on a last minute whim when drummer Nick Samson submitted Captain Kidd an hour before the competition’s deadline for entries.

Going up against deadlines is something the band is familiar with as they try to find harmony between being musicians and being college students.

“There’s this looming battle between me and my academic career,” said Blaha, a fifth-year in logistics. “I’m doing fine. I’m passing every one of my classes. But I’m seriously running into class, getting everything in last second, sweating profusely as the professor greets me like ‘Thank you. Five minutes late.’”

Gutierrez, a third-year in arts management, agrees, noting that, “it’s definitely not a total balance — maybe a little more focused on the music aspect.”

But the band is grateful for all that OSU has offered them.

“Opportunity wise, its huge,” Blaha said. “There’s so many people here, we have so much support from the college and it’s really cool that we got to play Welcome Week and Buckeyethon and we continue to get asked to play stuff.”

The band notes that in the year since playing Welcome Week, they’ve grown and evolved. For example, their sound now has psychedelic influences — Tame Impala and Flaming Lips being band favorites.

In the past year, the band has also revised their live set.

“Basically you look at your songs and are like ‘Okay, where is a part we can elaborate on? What part can we have a good time with?’” Blaha said. “So we add in parts to make it more fun live for everybody.”

Everybody at Firefly will have the opportunity to hear the OSU musicians when the festival takes place in June.

“Tens of thousands of people go (to Firefly) every day,” Blaha said. “It’s gonna be huge for exposure for us.”

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