From a festival to Bowling Green’s stage: Susto delivers stellar performance

By Jack Quinn

Susto is a five piece American indie rock band from Charleston, South Carolina. They have been making music and touring since 2014. 

I first saw Susto at Railbird Music Festival in Lexington last August. I had not heard much about this band but was instantly a fan after seeing them live.

So a month later, when I heard they were playing in Bowling Green, I had to go.

The setting for these two shows couldn’t have been more different. At Railbird, they were performing on a large festival stage early in the day, so the crowd was rather scattered across the festival grounds, but that didn’t stop the band from delivering an energetic and emotional performance. This was a rather large festival with full stage crew and a high-end professional sound system, so it is no doubt that the band was able to provide a full sound.

Each instrument was distinct and clear, and the band as a whole maintained an even volume and quality tone. But between the short festival style set length and the large outdoor venue, there was something missing.

 I was happy yet surprised to see that Susto was stopping in Bowling Green on their headlining national tour, especially because they were playing a venue I had never heard of with support from another band I had never heard of.

After arriving at the venue I quickly realized why I had never heard of it. It seemed to be more for wedding receptions, with lots of tables and chairs set up with a small makeshift sound board and a small bar. This venue was a far cry from the large festival stage, and I had low expectations for the quality of the performance.

The band was faced with all the usual challenges of playing a small town: small venue, low turn out and amateur set up, but once again, they arose to the challenge and delivered one of the best live performances I have seen in years. Something about the tightness of the space allowed for the sound to fill the room and create a warm tone. The keyboardist created beautifully auroral textures that were absent at their Railbird performance but shined in this small room. The guitars were toneful and they made great use of distortion that, when standing close to the stage, I could almost feel. The bass perfectly cut through the mix and provided a melodic rhythm, that was perfectly accompanied by the drums.

These various challenges that I originally thought would hold the band back subsequently made for a very intimate performance that allowed for an emotional connection between the audience and the band. 

After their encore the band were happily mingling with crowd members, showing a level of humility and character that is hard to find in most musicians today. 

Recap: WKU v. Louisville

By John Alden

The WKU football team traveled to Nashville yesterday to take on in-state rival Louisville and came up short in their fight against a Power 5 opponent. The Hilltoppers suffered a 38-21 loss to the Cardinals, giving WKU a 1-2 record heading into their bye week.

Coach Tyson Helton gave Louisville credit on the team’s improvement from last season.

“I thought Louisville did a nice job today, a much-improved football team,” Helton said. “I thought they controlled the line of scrimmage, put pressure on the quarterback.”

Quarterback Steven Duncan said he thought his team didn’t play to its full potential throughout the game.

“I think we played a lot better in the second half than we did in the first,” Duncan said. “And that starts with me. I’ll take [responsibility for] that.”

Although WKU wasn’t able to pull off the upset, Coach Helton was pleased with the opportunity to play Louisville in a neutral environment.

“We love to play Louisville or Kentucky every year,” Coach said. “We always want to be able to put ourselves on a platform to compete at the highest level and play against teams like that.”

The Hilltopper football team will be off this coming Saturday, but they will return home on Sept. 28 to take on conference foe UAB at Smith Stadium.

Young Romantics – Interview

Young Romantics is an alternative rock band based in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The band originally formed in 2017 when the two original members, Griffin Fletcher and Matt Porter, recorded songs in a Honda Accord.

It soon expanded into what it is today, with Fletcher on vocals, Porter on drums, Gerek Patrick on bass, and Mitchell Manual on guitar.

The band’s EP, “In Case You Feel the Same,” was released on Aug. 30.

Preview: The Hilltoppers vs. Central Arkansas

By Matthew Hargrove

Western Kentucky does not want to repeat what they did in last year’s home opener. 

The Tops played an FCS team in the Maine Bears, in which Western was the heavy favorite to win. Long story short, The Hilltoppers blew a 21-0 lead losing 31-28. It lead to a 3-9 record and one of the most embarrassing seasons in Hilltopper history. Thursday night, the Tops get another crack at an FCS team on home opening night with this time facing the Central Arkansas Bears. 

The biggest headline entering this game was WKU’s head coach, Tyson Helton,  during his first ever game as a head coach. He already has love from the Western fans considering he was the offensive coordinator for the Hilltoppers from 2014-15 when he helped the squad rank 24th nationally. A 1-0 start to the season would increase that high passion for the former Tennessee offensive coordinator and it would the first time the Hilltoppers have been over .500 since November 17, 2017.

The Western player with the heavy spotlight and arguably the most pressure on him is quarterback Steven Duncan. Duncan had a very inconsistent 2018 year, as he was fighting for the starting job with Davis Shanley. Duncan had a 57.8 completion percentage, threw nine touchdowns and 1,071 yards, which ranked 10th in Conference-USA last season. It’s no secret that the most important position in football has been very poor since the Mike White era, but maybe Helton, who has worked with multiple NFL quarterbacks such as Mike White, Sam Darnold, Brandon Doughty, and Joe Webb, can show bring light to the end of the tunnel for the position.

ESPN’s Football Power Index has Western having an 89.7% chance to beat the Bears, and considering what happened last year there is no excuse to lose this game. Even if the Tops are suppose to win by a lot it is officially game day and the start of another beautiful season of what makes the world go round — college football.

2019 WKU Football Season Outlook

The Schedule

Central Arkansas (8/29)

@ Florida International (9/7)*

Louisville (9/14)**

UAB (9/28)*

@ Old Dominion (10/5)*

Army (10/12)

Charlotte (10/19)*+

@ Marshall (10/26)*

Florida Atlantic (11/2)*

@ Arkansas (11/9)

@ Southern Miss (11/23)*

Middle Tennessee (11/30)*

* Indicates C-USA matchup

** Indicates neutral site matchup

+ Indicates Homecoming matchup

The Team (Offense)

Key Returners:

  • QB Steven Duncan (108-187, 1071 yds, 9 TD, 7 INT)
  • RB Joshua Samuels (648 yds, 121 ATT, 1 TD)
  • WR Lucky Jackson (552 yds, 50 catches, 4 TD)

Key Additions:

  • WR Manuel Allen (Moreno Valley, CA)
  • WR Tyler Smith (Conyers, GA)
  • OG Jack Randolph (Franklin, KY)

The Team (Defense)

Key Returners:

  • DB Devon Key (71 TOT, 3 TFL, 3 INT)
  • DL DeAngelo Malone (60 TOT, 9 TFL, 6 sacks, 1 INT)
  • DL Juwuan Jones (42 TOT, 6 TFL, 5 sacks)

Key Additions:

  • S Clayton Bush (Bowling Green, KY)
  • OLB Celestin Haba (Scottsdale, AZ)
  • DE Stephone Atkinson (Lake Minneola, FL)

Season Outlook

WKU football should be expecting improvement under first-year head coach Tyson Helton going into the 2019 season. Coach Helton plans to bring his high-flying offense to the Hilltoppers, which racked up about 325 YPG last season with the Volunteers. The new offense will hopefully benefit returning starting quarterback Steven Duncan. Last season Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano threw for 1907 yards with 12 touchdowns against 3 interceptions. In comparison, Steven Duncan only threw for 1071 yards with 9 touchdowns against 7 interceptions.

Some key matchups to look forward to are a neutral site game against Louisville in Nashville, a home game against Army, and a road matchup against Arkansas. Last season the Hilltoppers nearly came away with a victory against the Cardinals on the road, but this year they’ll get a shot at them a bit closer to home.

Be on the lookout for our Game 1 Preview tomorrow, where we’ll take a closer look at the Hilltoppers first opponent, the Central Arkansas Bears.

RedZone Radio also returns to the airwaves this Sunday at 7:00pm on Revolution 91.7. Tune in for a full analysis of WKU Football’s home opener against Central Arkansas.

Wrapping up the Men’s C-USA Championships for WKU

The Western Kentucky University Men’s Basketball Team fell to the Old Dominion Monarchs in the C-USA Tournament Championship on Saturday night 62-56. Here’s one final recap by RedZone Radio’s John Alden. Listen to John and the rest of the team discuss the events of the weekend Sunday night at 7 on Revolution 91.7.

Charles Bassey led the Hilltoppers in scoring with 12 points, and Josh Anderson and Jared Savage also made it to double figures.

Coach Stansbury had lots to say about his team during the postgame press conference.

“We didn’t make some shots as well as we have to,” Coach stated. “Give them [Old Dominion] some credit defensively. We still had our opportunities.”

Jared Savage said he was disappointed in his team’s lack of toughness in the early going.

“Whenever you play a team like that, they’re tough, they’re rough, they’re gonna bump you around,” Savage said. “You gotta bring that energy, and I don’t think we brought it the first half.”

When reflecting on the outcome, Coach Stansbury went back to what he’s been talking about since day one: a fine line.

“We take no moral victories away from here being in this championship game,” Coach said. “We want to find a way to win it, and winning and losing’s a fine line.”

The Hilltoppers will learn their postseason fate in the coming days. The team will likely earn a bid to either the NIT or the CBI. Coach Stansbury said he hasn’t given any thought as to whether his team will accept a bid or not.

Fans can watch the team’s press conference in its entirety on the WKU RedZone Radio Facebook page.

2019 Men’s & Women’s C-USA ChampionshipsRecap: Semifinals

RedZone Radio’s John Alden has another recap for you, so you can be ready to catch the show this Sunday from 7 – 8 PM on Revolution 91.7!

Men:

WKU Men’s Basketball kicked things off for us today at 3:00pm as the Hilltoppers defeated the Southern Miss Golden Eagles and slowed down their high-powered offense en route to earning a spot in tomorrow’s C-USA Championship title game. Josh Anderson and Taveion Hollingsworth led the way in scoring with 18 points and 17 points respectively.

“They (Southern Miss) were the hottest team in this tournament,” Coach stated. “But our guys found a way to make enough plays to win the game.

Hollingsworth knew he had to be focused late in the game to ensure his team would have a chance to win in the end.

“The first half I didn’t shoot too well,” Hollingsworth said. “The second half I knew my team needed me to step up, so I knew I had to lock in on offense and do what I gotta do.”

Coach Stansbury said he knows it will be a tough challenge tomorrow going up against a team that’s already defeated his squad twice this season.

“We’ll have to play extremely well to have a chance to win this,” Coach stated. “But we have an opportunity as a coach, as a player, as fans, as administrators. That’s all you ask for.”

The Hilltoppers will be playing for a C-USA Tournament title as well as an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament next week when they take on Old Dominion tomorrow night at 7:30pm (CT). The game will be broadcasted live on CBS Sports Network.

Women:

The Lady Toppers’ C-USA Tournament run came to an end this evening as they fell to the top-seeded Rice Owls in a game that was much closer than expected. Alexis Brewer and Arame Niang both had solid performances during the game, scoring 17 points and 15 points respectively.

“I told our players I was really proud of their effort, their competitiveness,” Coach stated. “I thought they executed the game plan about as well as we could have executed it.

Alexis Brewer gave her teammate, Arame Niang, a ton of credit for her performance after Raneem Elgedawy exited the game due to foul trouble.

“I think Arame really stepped up big for us tonight coming out and hitting those threes,” Brewer stated. “She really played hard tonight offensively and defensively.”

Although the Lady Toppers’ C-USA title run ended earlier than he wanted, Coach Collins is still very pleased with his team’s growth when looking back on the season.

“I feel like the last five ball games we’ve played really hard together,” Coach stated. “That’s really the growth of this team, not relying on their individual skills as much as relying on their teammates and working hard together.”

The WKU Women’s Basketball season isn’t over quite yet, however. The team placed a bid to host an opening round game for the WNIT, and they will find out if they have earned one sometime early next week.


Just Call it a Comeback: Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow

An Album Review by MJ. Catch her on-air every Tuesday from 1 PM – 2 PM on Revolution 91.7.

2019 has seen Americans dishing on  super moons, government shutdowns and Jordyn Woods, but the indie underground is steady streaming perhaps the biggest news this year has delivered yet—the release of Remind Me Tomorrow, the fifth full-length studio album release from the folk goddess herself, Sharon Van Etten.

While Van Etten bowed out of the spotlight for a time after 2015`s Are We There Yet, in the four years since her last album Van Etten has graced Netflix super natural thriller The OA, returned to college in pursuit of a psychcology degree, and gave birth to her first child.

But if you really want to know what she’s been up to, she dishes all in her most optimal album to date.

Van Etten’s fans have always regarded her for her atmospheric harmonies and poetically sultry pianos, and the new sound is a sexy as ever. Remind Me Tomorrow delivers all of the elements that hooked fans, with a freshly grated sprinkle of synthesizers and organs that adds a pop feel to songs like “Comeback Kid,” the first single.

Lines like “Yeah I’m the runaway / I’m the hardly stay / Let me slip away,” suggest a once hard-to-pin-down gal might be considering commitment, tying perfectly into the album’s theme. The 39-year-old is clearly comfortably in love, and this album depicts that in a way that’ll make ya want to do a little shimmy in the kitchen in your underwear, while you’re waiting for your bagel bites to cool.

“Jupiter 4” is eerily romantic, proclaiming “our love is for real” and giving listeners all the feels of euphoria felt in the arms of a secure relationship. It’s total “this is going to last a lifetime” vibes.

It awakens your 18-year-old self and inspires memories of creeping softly for a late night bathroom break, in an attempt to not wake your snoring partner. It leaves you aching for THAT all over again. Word on the street is that John Congleton produces this masterpiece, the same genius behind Phases by Angel Olsen, slanging a progressiveness that’s nothing if not stunning.

An open letter to New York City, “Seventeen,” is a sultry dance setup served with a side of Cindi Lauper-like chills. “Downtown hot spot / Halfway up the street / I used to be free / I used to be seventeen” signifies a tunnel back in time, reminiscing of both freedom and growing pains throughout innocent days.

“I see you so uncomfortably alone / I wish I could show you how much you’ve grown,” Van Etten piercingly trills. If life is like riding a train backwards,  so that only what’s behind us is visible, this tracks gives an all-knowing depiction that only a spiritual guru could match.

Remind Me Tomorrow is Sharon Van Ettens most tantalizing album yet, raw yet polished. She gets her grown woman on in a raw and sassy  storytelling mode with relatable insights into where she has been , where she is, and where she is going. Perhaps time has made my heart fonder, but maybe, just maybe, she truly is the ultimate comeback kid.

2019 Men’s & Women’s C-USA Championships Recap: Quarterfinals

Representatives from RedZone Radio made it out to Texas to cover the Men’s and Women’s C-USA Championship Quarterfinals. Here’s the round-up, presented by John Alden.

Women:

The Lady Toppers got things started off on the right foot for WKU as they defeated 5-seed Old Dominion to earn a spot in the semifinals on Friday. The Tops received outstanding performances from Whitney Creech and Raneem Elgedawy, both of which notched a double-double on the day.

“The key I felt like going in was that we were really gonna have to attack the rim,” Coach Greg Collins stated.

Creech was particularly impressed by her team’s ability to attack in transition.

“I think this was one of our better games in transition,” Creech stated. “We were very successful in getting the ball out quick, pushing it, and getting easy layups.”

Coach Collins knows tomorrow’s matchup against the top-seeded Rice Owls will be difficult, but he believes his team is up for the challenge.

“They (Rice) change the way you play because of how they play,” Coach stated. “But we’re excited about the opportunity to play them for a chance to advance to the championship.”

The Lady Toppers will continue their trek to another C-USA Tournament title tomorrow evening when they face Rice at 5:30pm (CT). The game will be broadcast live on WKU’s PBS station as well as the Stadium streaming network.

Men:

WKU Men’s Basketball capped off the day with a strong performance on both ends of the floor, coming away with a 67-51 victory against the North Texas Mean Green to secure a spot in the semifinals on Friday. Taveion Hollingsworth led all scorers during the game with 19 points.

Coach Rick Stansbury knew it was important to get off to a hot start against a North Texas team that was riding momentum coming into the game.

“It’s always good when you can do that,” Coach stated. “It gives you a lot of confidence particularly in your first game.”

Taveion Hollingsworth understands the importance of finishing games and refusing to give up big leads in late game situations.

“We’ve been in multiple situations like that,” Hollingsworth stated. “Teams are gonna go on runs, and you gotta find ways to get around that.”

Stansbury knows the quick turnaround tomorrow can’t affect the performance of his team, especially because their opponent will have to deal with it as well.

“Whatever it is, that team playing out there, they gotta play under the same circumstances that we have to play,” Coach stated. “You know everybody’s playing you-lose-you-go-home. A lot of urgency right now.”

The Hilltoppers will have a shot at earning a trip to the C-USA Championship game tomorrow afternoon when they take on Southern Miss 3:00pm (CT). The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.

Young poets perform at community theater event

by Natalie Turner

A community theater and a high school came together to give young performers a chance to flex their poetic muscles.

BG OnStage hosted its first Open Mic event, featuring performers from Bowling Green High School’s Purple Poets Society.

This story originally appeared on Natalie Turner’s website. Listen to the radio version below here.

Christian Butterfield said he started writing poetry after discovering slam poets online.

“I didn’t like poetry for the longest time,” he said. “I think it’s because when we talk about poetry in school, it’s all about the rhyming stuff. I watched a bunch of slam poetry and I was like ‘woah!’ They’re just talking. It’s like prose but better.”

Butterfield performed several pieces, including an original work about Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli.

BG OnStage Music Director Maddie Hughes said the community theater’s first Open Mic event came together easily because student interest was high.

“There was already such a strong foundation, a crowd, and an audience for this kind of stuff,” Hughes said. “It was not terribly difficult to get the ball rolling on this.”

Hughes said she thinks the young performers fit in the theater well.

“We are any and all things art. This is a theater space, and there are aspects of drama incorporated in poetry.”

​Performer Abigail Adams-Smith said she considers herself a writer first, but she will be using her performance skills when she reads at this year’s Poetry Out Loud competition.

Adams-Smith said she tries to perform as often as possible.

“I just try to get as much into character as possible. It doesn’t matter what I’m feeling anymore. It matters how I’m feeling in character right then.”

Emma Christian, another poet who performed at the Gaslight Theater, said her own poetry was “too edgy” for a BETA Convention.

“I’m fine. I’m emotionally okay,” she said. “But my poetry got reported for being too edgy. I was like okay. That’s something I should probably figure out. So then I went to the Purple Poets Society at my school.”

Christian said she loves performing, but she’s afraid of the “starving artist” stereotype.

“I’m kind of left in this position where I’m like—this is something that I love and that I’m passionate about, but I also want to have a family and buy a house.”

Like Christian Butterfield, Anna Cherry started writing poetry after listening to a slam poem.

“I knew that slam poetry was a thing, but I didn’t think that people could get that passionate about it,” she said.

Cherry said she can’t imagine a future where she isn’t writing.

“I still shake when I perform, and that’s never going to change,” she said. “The confidence comes from the message that I put into the pieces.”

At the end of the night, student Elizabeth Richey won a $300 scholarship drawing. She said she was nervous about performing.

“I almost didn’t get out the car whenever I got here,” Richey said. “I was like ‘I don’t want to do this,’ and I stepped back into the car. Then my mom told me I could do this, and I walked out.”

Richey said the emotional piece she performed at the event was the first original poem she had ever written.

“Writing it was very therapeutic. It just kind of got my feelings out of there, from them being built up so much.”

Maddie Hughes said she thinks Bowling Green can expect more poetry events from BG OnStage in the future.

“I think we got a really good start here, and it’s something the Bowling Green community would really like to see more of.”