Arts & Entertainment

VanillaSake moves on to Semi-Final round of the Madison Theater Band Challenge

By: Alex Spindler ~Staff Writer~

The long tradition of local bands and great music continues with VanillaSake, a rock ‘n’ roll quartet involved in the Cincinnati music scene and Xavier community.

Brian Sheridan (vocals and rhythm guitar), Sean Dunn (lead guitar), Anthony Nataro (bass guitar) and Will “Shaggy” Clemens (drums and percussion) round out the band’s lineup.

Aside from local gigs and benefits, VanillaSake will have the opportunity to perform in the semifinal round of the Madison Theater Band Challenge on Friday, Feb. 14.

The event features bands from all over the Cincinnati area. Each musical act is judged on originality with combined scores from event judges and audience response.

Clemens, a senior at Xavier, speaks on the band’s roots and development since its conception.

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Will “Shaggy” Clemens on the drums during the competition

“We started playing together by riffing on ‘Use Me’ by Bill Withers in late 2011 after jazz band rehearsal,” Clemens said. In fact, the name comes from the fact that the group “consists of three white guys […] and a hint of Asian” according to the band’s online biography. Henceforth, it would be named “VanillaSake.”

Frequenting local Norwood joints such as “Monty’s on Montgomery” and even Xavier Fest sponsored by the Student Activities Council, VanillaSake makes its mark time and time again. The self-named four-piece alternative rock band has spent the past two years rehearsing, performing and even aiding with impromptu events. Surprisingly enough, the group maintains an unconventional approach to rehearsing music. “We don’t really rehearse,” Clemens said. “It’s more of a jam