Thursday Nite Live features new faces at opening concert

by: CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in-Chief

“Thursday Nite Live” is the fast-paced, energized band at South Plains College.

“Thursday Nite Live” is directed by Wade McNutt, instructor in commercial music. He took over the band years ago after Cary Banks, assistant professor of commercial music and its originator, passed it to him.

“I feel like it (the name of the band) was a play off of Saturday Nite Live,” said McNutt. “Which is why it’s N–I–T–E instead of N–I–G–H–T.”

According to McNutt, one of the reasons the group was started is that SPC used to have a group called the Country Caravan. The college owned a semi–truck filled with equipment, and during the summer, students and faculty would travel the country performing. McNutt said at some point that band stopped traveling.

“We needed another promotional tool, and Thursday Nite Live was born,” said McNutt.

According to McNutt, he was actually a member of Thursday Nite Live when he was a student at SPC from 2003 to 2005. He said he started working at SPC in 2008, and Banks had been teaching the band for 15 years.

“He was ready to hand it over,” recalled McNutt, “and he asked me to take over the reigns.”

The members of Thursday Nite Live for the fall semester are: Jason Barocio from Belton, Texas, drums; Kathryn Villalon from Lubbock, bass guitar; Cameron Baker from Sanderson, Texas, lead guitar; Rian Castillo from Elgin, Texas, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano and vox; Olivia Schilling, a vocalist from Farwell, Texas; and Gabbie Schilling, a vocalist from Farwell, Texas.

According to McNutt, when students audition, he his looking for everything.

“I look for the whole package,” explained McNutt. “I want to see someone who takes over the room. But they also have to understand how to read charts, they need to be able to learn things quickly, and be able to hear with their ear and then recreate it.”

McNutt adds that Thursday Nite Live is  a very fast-paced band. They do not have time to sit and learn something for a long time, with practices held twice a week.

Photo courtesy of Wade McNutt 

McNutt tried something unique with the last setlist for Thursday Nite Live. He said he told one of the students he or she was to choose everything, from what songs to who sings the songs.

“It’s a big undertaking, because if you have three or four different singers, then you have to try and balance them getting an equal amount of songs, and at the same time have a nice set that is unique,” said McNutt.

The setlist for Thursday Nite Live’s next show includes: “You’re No Good,” “Ex’s and Oh’s,” “Higher and Higher,” “Smoothe,” “Africa,” “Poor Man Blues,” “Eight Days A Week,” “Ain’t Nobody Lonely,” “Love Hurts” and “Paradise By the Dashboard Lights.”

“(This semester) it’s been great,” said McNutt. “We have an awesome group and great people, which is the most important thing in the business.”

According to McNutt, being a person other people want to be around is important, because if someone is going to be on a tour bus for a long time, then the people on that bus

become family. The performers are around each other all the time, and if someone cannot get along with everyone, he or she is not likely to get a job.

McNutt also said word of mouth is very important in the music industry.

“We ask around, and the same thing happens in the music business; people ask around,”

said McNutt.

McNutt says that they are looking for students who are well rounded in their studies and in their passion for music.

“It seems odd to say do good in math and that can help you,” said McNutt. “But it’s true. We want to see the whole picture.”

According to McNutt, former members of Thursday Nite Live have been involved in various music awards and late night shows. He said Josh Abbott and most of his band are from the program at SPC, along with the sound crew.

“There’s alumni all over the industry that were a part of these top ensembles,” McNutt said. “So it’s really fun to go see them develop as professionals and live that dream.”

Thursday Nite Live will perform next during Fest Week at Tom T. Hall Recording Publication Studio in the Creative Arts Building on the Levelland campus on Dec. 3.

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