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Vox's first digital concert series, Vox Fest, featured five concert videos performed by Columbia musicians. 

In 1991, Lollapalooza was born. In 1999, the world saw the first Coachella. In 2020, Vox Fest was livestreamed.

OK, so maybe Vox Fest isn't as big of a deal as Lollapalooza or Coachella (yet). However, the necessary absence of all our favorite music festivals this year was a source of inspiration. Why not try to fix the empty feeling that the ghosts of these festivals gave us by putting together a digital music festival?

The final product was Vox Fest — a digital concert series featuring a lineup of some of Columbia's talented musicians. It streamed Dec. 8 through 10 on Vox Magazine's Facebook page. Missed the live show? No worries. Every concert, along with artist interviews, can be found below.

Elephant Foot

Elephant Foot formed in Jan. 2020. It released its debut single — containing the tracks "Gimme Yer Love" and "Toe Jam" — on Oct. 14. Shortly after, the band was forced to adjust when its former lead guitarist, Forrest Wilson, left Elephant Foot. The group opted to replace Wilson's guitar with Brice La Fond on keyboard, allowing the band to pursue new creative directions.

"Originally we had a lot of heavily rock-influenced songs, and now I think we're able to get more into that funky, groovy sort of vibe," lead singer Eli Hayward says. "I honestly think it's really benefiting us as a group, and it's showcasing elements that were maybe otherwise undermined in our old setup."

That funky, groovy vibe was evident in Elephant Foot's Vox Fest set, which contained a cover of Blackstreet's "No Diggity." Elephant Foot is all about rhythm: Tyler Gerstheimer's Telecaster sings soothing, rhythmic melodies; Drew Anderson uses tactical restraint on the drums, with every beat coming at exactly the right moment; and that pairs perfectly with the bass lines hammered out by Drew Webber. The Drews of Elephant Foot's rhythm section allow the band to play around with tempo in their songs, while still keeping everyone in sync.

Ruby Lane

Jam bands are not a thing of the past, and Ruby Lane is a testament to that. The band creates music that's very free, which is what music should be in the eyes of its members. Ruby Lane's sound dances on the border of being psychedelic, even crossing into that territory sometimes. The members of the band say their versatility is how listeners can identify Ruby Lane's music.

Forrest Wilson's guitar is enthralling — even mesmerizing at times. Mike Wambua plays the drums so nonchalantly that he makes it look easy; it's almost impossible to take your eyes off of him. Adam Wilson maintains a charming, boyish exuberance as the band's lead singer.

The band will be releasing its debut album, Trains, Spaceships and Automobiles, soon. It will be the first Ruby Lane record released with Luke Anderson playing keyboard, an important element that adds to the group's versatility.

J. ARTiz

Also known in the community as Josh Runnels, J. ARTiz describes his music as future soul: soul music with hints of the past and present that projects toward the Afro-futurism of musicality. "I understand that digital music is going into a lot of electronic sounds and ambient sounds," he says. "I still believe that soul needs to be transmuted through those sounds — collaborating together to kind of continue the essence of where music even started, which is tribal."

J. ARTiz sings with emotion that can be felt through sound waves alone. He raps with control and rhythm that creates a flow smoother than any cliché could aptly describe.

Although hailing from the Chicago-area, J. ARTiz has left his mark on Columbia's art scene. He's also a vocalist for the Columbia-based collective loose loose, which similarly embodies the future soul genre. J. ARTiz plans to release a single accompanied by a music video in late December and an EP in 2021, hopefully by spring, he says.

Melancholia

Melancholia is a self-described indie rock band, but it is far from being conventional. It has two lead singers, Angie Busby and Stella Peters, who can play off of each other's lead or harmonize to create rich layers of vocals and even a single, cohesive voice at times. Syncopation can be found in some tracks, adding to Melancholia's dynamic sound and the sound's dimension.

"I feel like it's definitely a sound that I've never heard in town or gotten to play with," Forrest Wilson says. "I've never heard two people sing the same, the way (Busby and Peters) do."

"We couldn't do it differently, and I wouldn't want to," says bassist Drew Webber. "It just all melts so perfectly."

The band released its debut EP, "One Day," on Dec. 10 — the same day its Vox Fest concert originally aired. Their set contained all three songs from the EP and a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams."

Post Sex Nachos

Post Sex Nachos has been busy lately. Aside from playing a sold-out show on Oct. 29 at the Blue Note, the group recently released two singles from its upcoming album, which is in the process of being finished up now. The music video for the first of the two singles, "Holdin' on to You," required a 14-hour day of filming. "It was like the transition of, 'Oh, this is something we're doing for fun,' into, 'Oh, this is something that we want to pursue,'" lead singer Sammy Elfanbaum says.

Post Sex Nachos has a catalog of catchy songs to choose from. Hunter Pendleton's tight, upbeat drumming and Elfanbaum's sentimental lyrics support this. Mitch Broddon showcases his stamina and flexibility on guitar by traveling up and down scales with ease, linking riffs together and breaking out into tricky solos.

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From Chicago, IL. Graduating from MU in Spring '21, majoring in journalism with an emphasis in magazine writing. Reach me at tylermessner99@gmail.com.

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