I Am The Kaleidoscope
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I Am The Kaleidoscope

Springfield, Virginia, United States

Springfield, Virginia, United States
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"Battle of the Bands Take Two"

There can only be one. Five bands came to compete in George Mason University’s musical gauntlet, but only one was chosen. Last Thursday, House of Echo, Rites of Ash, I Am the Kaleidoscope, Find the Focus and The Automatics shared two dueling stages in the Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall. The rules were plain and simple. The last band standing would be promised a gig to musical prominence.

Plugged in and tuned up, the feuding bands met on Mason’s campus to determine who would be opening up for Cobra Starship on Mason Day. In the end, I Am the Kaleidoscope was hailed the victor by three judges.

The venue was lacking in an attending audience but the bands still performed like they had sold out The Garden. All the bands proved they had the necessary energy to keep up with a crowd as large as Mason Day’s. I Am the Kaleidoscope’s presence though was the only one that wasn’t at risk of being eclipsed by an already well-known band like Cobra Starship.

Find the Focus, the acoustic based duo of Mason sophomores Spencer Wolf and Mark Cruz, opened up the event while late attendees were still trickling in. The subtle, chord progressing tunes the band had to offer were welcomed by some of their more familiar fans but left others unsatisfied. Their unplugged set was drowned out by the heavier performances of the four other rivaling bands.

The Automatics, headed by George Mason’s own Danny Oelkers, followed The Focus’ performance. Armed with the power of an electric guitar and the quick fret working of guitarist Janet Jelena, The Automatics set the tone for the rest of the night. Danny Oelkers was a crowd favorite as the front man jumped around the stage.

Winners of the event I Am the Kaleidoscope was next. The synergy between front man and lead singer Khalid Gharzai and guitarist Eddie Fuentes resonated the presences of power duo Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta.

Fuentes danced around wildly - broadsideonline.com


"Kaleidoscope secures Mason Day gig"

There can only be one. Five bands came to compete in George Mason University’s musical gauntlet, but only one would go onto the final stage.

Last Thursday, House of Echo, Rites of Ash, I Am the Kaleidoscope, Find the Focus and The Automatics shared two dueling stages in Dewberry Hall. The rules were plain and simple. The last band standing would be promised a gig of musical prominence at this year’s Mason Day fesitivites.

Plugged in and tuned up, the feuding bands met on Mason’s campus to determine who would open up for Cobra Starship during their Mason Day concert. In the end, I Am the Kaleidoscope was hailed the victor by three judges.

Dewberry Hall was far from being a packed house but the bands still performed like they had sold out Madison Square Garden. All the bands proved they had the necessary energy to keep up with a crowd as large as Mason Day’s.

I Am the Kaleidoscope’s presence, though, was the only one that wasn’t at risk of being eclipsed by an already well-known band like Cobra Starship.

I Am the Kaleidoscope was set to play in the third slot for the night and was considered to be one of the top choices along with other local favorite House of Echo.

The synergy between front man Khalid Gharzai and guitarist Eddie Fuentes resonated the presences of other power duos like Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta.

The fast fret working of Fuentes along with Gharzai’s commanding voice made them unignorable even in the dimly lit Johnson Center hall.

I Am the Kaleidoscope will open up for Cobra Starship on April 22 at 8 p.m. in Lot L. Kaleidoscope will be performing on the smaller stage. - Broadsideonline.com


"Local Group Brings the Noise: I Am the Kaleidoscope Fuses Genres"

As my journey to discover the local music scene began, I found myself at JAXX night club off of Rolling Road in Springfield. It was here that I discovered the first band I would interview, I Am the Kaleidoscope.

I planted myself at a little table towards the back of the club, illuminated by a dull yellow light. As I waited for the performance to begin, I watched the 100 or so audience members drift around the bar and dance floor, anxiously waiting for the music to begin. After a few moments, the band appeared and began prepping for the show.

The first thing I noticed about I Am the Kaleidoscope was the relationship between the band members. They joked around and showed no sign of being nervous as they tuned their instruments. When they finished, a huddle formation between the members readied them, as well as the crowd, for the show.

As the performance began, the high energy and intense sound of the band drew the audience members closer to the stage. Within seconds of the music starting, the rapid guitar riffs, heart-pounding drum beats, hypnotizing bass lines and the lead singer’s distinctive and surprisingly high-pitched voice immediately caught my attention and held it the whole time they were on stage.

The music’s unique sound mixed several genres. Each member brought a style to the group ranging from hardcore rock to alternative and even R&B-infused rhythms. It dawned on me that deeming this group a certain genre would be nearly impossible.

In fact, before starting, one member made a comment to the crowd about the genre debate. “We are I Am the Kaleidoscope. I’d tell you what genre we are but I don’t know because we don’t know,” joked Eddie Fuentes, the 21-year-old guitarist from The Art Institute of Washington.

Alongside Eddie is Dominic Dixon, a 25-year-old on the bass. Back on the drums is George Mason University’s own Carlos Cruz, a 21-year-old biology and French double major. Finally is Khalid Gharzai, the 24-year-old vocalist.

The energy from the music was contagious and spread to the crowd. I even found myself constantly moving to the beat as I tried to take down notes. The performance was clean, energized, fun and genuine. Their love for music stood out as they shined on stage, doing the thing they enjoy with close friends.

Each song was different but still contained that unique sound that could only be attributed to their band. Some songs you could boogie down to and then next thing you know, you could be head banging to the next.

My first question was naturally about the name of the band. When the band formed, they actually had another name. Sadly, they learned of another group on the West Coast with a following and the same name. When trying to think of a new one, Eddie found inspiration in one of his poems.

When he spotted the line “I am the kaleidoscope,” Eddie immediately thought of the band’s music and members.

Just like the band, kaleidoscopes are made of different pieces to create an original vision. The name stuck.
The band started playing seriously six months ago, but they had come together much earlier.

In fact, Khalid and Dominic had played in a band together before this project. Eddie and Carlos also played together, and Carlos mentioned liking Khalid and Dom’s music before they even started playing together. Through friends, the group met and sealed their fate as a band.

All of their songs are originally composed by the band members. The other members joked around and labeled Eddie the “brain child” for his imagination and power to bring all of their influences together into their own sound. They meet about two times a week to collaborate and practice.

As I wrapped up the interview, I asked the band about their intentions for the future. “We would definitely like to get our music out to much more than a local level.”

Cruz said, “We would love to travel around and play. We all take our music very seriously.”

The band currently has a four-track demo they give out at their shows. Anyone interested in finding out more about the band or their music can check out their websites online: www.facebook.com/IamtheKaleidoscope and www.myspace.com/IamtheKaleidoscope.

As for myself, my never-ending journey to help reach the masses about local music talent continues on. If you are in a band or know of a band that would be interested in doing an interview, you can reach me at my e-mail, dhall8@gmu.edu - BroadsideOnline.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

I Am the Kaleidoscope is a Progressive Rock group with various musical influences; among these are Latin Grooves, heavy metal, and even R&B. Much like the various glass and mirrors pieces that come together to form a kaleidoscope, IATK fuses all of these influences into a cohesive, fresh new sound.
In just 2 years from their formation in 2009, IATK has already made a big impact in the DMV Area; building a solid fan-base in young college students through their raw, highly energetic, performances. Among their accomplishments to date are winning George Mason University’s Battle of the Bands, being invited to open up for Cobra Starship at The Annual Mason Day Festival, and being featured, twice on the local GMU radio station “I Lost My Voice At That Show Last Night”.
IATK has also drawn out comparisons to some of this generation’s most influential and respected groups such as Radiohead and The Mars Volta. I Am The Kaleidoscope continues to innovate and evolve into a force to be reckoned with. Currently they are working on the upcoming release of their self-titled EP due to drop in April of 2011