Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Sunday, April 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

Outdoor Show spotlights music, local artists

Binki, a Philadelphia-based artist, headlined the 32nd annual ktru Outdooor Show this past Saturday, March 30. Marlo Wilcox / Thresher

By Arielle Noah     4/2/24 11:22pm

ktru hosted its 32nd annual music festival, the Outdoor Show on Saturday, March 30, with student cover band Sunset Blvd opening and Philly-born artist Binki headlining. 

Sunset Blvd kicked off the festival with a mashup of popular songs from familiar artists. According to guitarist Harshitha Pelaprolu, the band was full of adrenaline upon finishing their set. She said having the PA system fully turned up makes the experience worth it. 

“My favorite part is actually hearing everybody,” Pelaprolu, a Martel College senior, said in an interview with the Thresher.

Jules Houston, who serves as bassist, back-up vocalist, violinist and ukelele player for Sunset Blvd, said the audience set the performance apart for them. This was Houston’s second time playing at ODS, their first having been in the fall of 2022, soon after the creation of the band. Vocalist Harveen Kaur, a McMurtry College senior, and then-roommate Pelaprolu wanted to participate in ktru’s Battle of the Bands and connected with Houston and Sebastian Sy, a Jones College junior, through social media.

“Knowing people are enjoying what we’re creating boosts my energy,” Houston, a Jones sophomore, said. 

Sunset Blvd weren’t the only students on stage. Student DJs like Jay Han, a Jones junior who goes by “Ruff” onstage, and Maaz Zuberi, a Jones junior, mixed up hits to keep the energy going between sets. Houston-based artist HYPERFEMME also entertained crowds with her DJ prowess. Mixing femme-forward songs with a house and hyperpop aesthetic, she had attendees torn between staying on the dance floor and purchasing food from the local Greek-Mexican-Korean-American fusion food truck, Foreign Policy. Students, parents and children alike were in Central Quad enjoying the evening’s festivities. 

After Sunset Blvd, Houston-based indie band Blossom Aloe took the stage. The local group expanded on their group’s start in an interview before their set. 

“We had all been musicians to some degree, and after I auditioned, I never stopped coming [to practice],” Henry Huelskamp, Blossom Aloe’s guitarist, said. 

Two other members of Blossom Aloe, guitarist and back vocalist Josh Vargas and bassist Aaron Uriz, connected over music in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown. According to Vargas, they made an album together with eight songs. 

“Once we were ready to play live shows, we needed another guitarist because I was doing most of the playing,” Vargas said. 

Uriz said he knew Huelskamp from club swimming and reached out to him to audition for the band. Later, after a round of auditions, they offered Coyle the role of lead vocalist.

“[We] had a really good chemistry, and we started writing a song together and said, ‘Ok, this is working pretty well,’ so [Blossom Aloe] asked me to be a permanent member,” Coyle said.

Since then, Coyle has expanded her lyrical capabilities to interweave narratives into the band’s songs. Blossom Aloe said their most recent album, “Summer Days Heavy Rain,” was a culmination of different experiences in their lives. 

“Summer Days Heavy Rain is about … an embrace of change, moving forward, moving out of adolescence and figuring shit out in your 20s,” Coyle said. 

Alongside the music, there were also other activities at the show, including an eight-foot cutout of Big Tex to paint, a mechanical bull or shopping stalls such as Thrift Dahan and Archi Market. ODS offered free cookies, Red Bull and cotton candy, while Foreign Policy and Kona Ice trucks had food available for purchase on-site. 

Towards the end of the night,headline artist Binki riled the crowd up with witty bits between songs. From mentioning Howard Hughes to grooving on stage, Binki gave a performance full of stage presence and personality. He had the crowd dancing and head-bopping with well known hits like “Sea Sick” and even a sneak peek at an in-progress demo.

More from The Rice Thresher

A&E 4/17/24 12:00am
Super Smash Bros. ultimate tournament sees smashing success

The Super Smash Bros. Club held their second annual ultimate tournament Friday, April 12. Club president Jashun Paluru said all Smash players were welcome, regardless of ability, experience or involvement in the club. The event was held in collaboration with Owls After Dark, a late-night activity series headed by the Rice Student Center, at the Rice Memorial Center’s Grand Hall.

A&E 4/16/24 11:07pm
Tribute band ‘Suede Hedgehog’ talks inspirations, legacies

Last Thursday, the halls of the RMC were graced with smooth melodies and funky grooves courtesy of “Suede Hedgehog,” Rice’s very own tribute band to “Silk Sonic,” a musical duo made up of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak. Although the tiny desk concert only lasted about 20 minutes the atmosphere was electric, and Coffeehouse — their venue — was packed with listeners.

A&E 4/16/24 11:07pm
Seniors showcase their artistic journey in ‘Opia’

“Opia,” the title of this year’s visual and dramatic arts senior showcase, is defined by the artists as “the intense vulnerability of looking someone in the eye, and the beautiful discomfort of seeing yourself reflected in their gaze.” These concepts of introspection and interpersonal connection resonate powerfully across the diverse bodies of work produced by a class of 17 artists, who will open up their showcase to the Rice community on Thursday April 18.


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.