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The story of Take Two: Your new Clemson Music Festival openers

Take Two // Provided
Griffin Sanders playing bass guitar for Take Two at Tiger Town Tavern.

From a casual conversation over burgers to opening for some of their favorite performers, local band Take Two has come a long way in a little over a year. The six-piece closed out Itsurweiner’s inaugural Battle of the Bands on Friday, April 5, leaving the crowd screaming for an encore.

After the show, the Clemson Music Festival Instagram page conducted a poll to determine the winner. In the end, the public chose Take Two to appear on the festival’s bill alongside headliners T-Pain, Mt. Joy and Two Friends.

Take Two could not sit patiently waiting for the likes to roll in. In fact, they had to perform right as the posts went up. Setting up their phones next to their instruments on the stage and watching the like count rise, the musicians’ fate quickly became clear: Take Two would play in front of their biggest audience ever on the Clemson Music Festival stage.

So, who are these beloved performers? In an interview with The Tiger, the six members of Take Two discuss their band, their relationship and their upcoming performance on the main stage.

Take Two brings together different instruments, different personalities and different backgrounds, yet they produce a sound that always has the audience singing along.

Lead singer Evan Dwinnell, a senior, handles vocal duties, keyboard and trumpet. Max BeGole, a sophomore biochemistry major, is the band’s guitarist, while BeGole’s freshman year roommate Jackson Voshell is on drums.

Griffin Sanders plays the bass guitar, and his cousin Cooper Sanders is the band’s “trombone man.” Cooper Sanders and guitarist Max Ephron’s trombone work gives the band their distinctive sound.

It all started with one simple question: “Do you want to start a band?” After initial connections blossomed in TigerBand and jazz band for Dwinnell, Ephron and Cooper Sanders, they met Griffin Sanders and Voshell through the business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi. BeGole, Voshell’s roommate at the time, completed the group.

When asked what their music style is, each member had a different answer, ranging from jazz to punk to rock. “We funk-ify pretty much everything we play,” Griffin Sanders claimed. From Coldplay mashups to The Beatles to Maroon 5, this band truly covers it all.

“A lot of us have jazz backgrounds, and you can hear that in our playing. We have a lot of solos, a lot of improv going on,” said Cooper Sanders.

The band rarely practices now, but it hasn’t always been that way. Before their first-ever show last February, the band was in the Brooks Center almost every day until two a.m. working on their setlist. Still, those late-night practices and tipsy tear-downs are all worth it for the crowd.

While the band loves performing for a multitude of reasons, the audience might rank number one. The crowd and Take Two feed off each other’s energy, creating a fun atmosphere to perform, Dwinnell said. For Voshell, on the other hand, the excitement comes from his bandmates.

“I would say my favorite part of performing is when I make eye contact with one of these five guys, and it’s an intense moment. We are rocking out, and sweat is pouring in my eyes, and it’s so intense and fun,” said Voshell.

“My favorite all-time Take Two memory was earlier this semester. I look up from the drums, and Max [BeGole] had stepped up onto the bar and was like in front of everybody, rocking out. I was so happy watching him just tear it up in front.”

BeGole, meanwhile, says that he is just happy to be there.

Lots of time in the saddle together has perfected the boys’ communication. “It’s basically like we’re all speaking the same language,” Griffin Sanders said.

Practice, along with their new in-ear monitors, allows the band to control the volume of the instruments from their phones. Additionally, talk-back microphones give them the ability to communicate with each other onstage without disrupting the performance, or so they say.

“I’m trying so hard to keep in tune, and they’re in my ear being completely out of tune!” lead singer Dwinnell retorted.

Even with their extensive preparation, there was one thing Take Two wasn’t prepared for when they started playing downtown. “I had no idea how much Clemson students love ‘Free Bird,’ and it still blows my mind,” Voshell said.

“Free Bird” has become the band’s signature song, and it’s spectacular. The band plays the track’s iconic solo not only on guitar but also on trombone.

“One of my favorite things about playing is when someone comes up to me after the show saying, ‘I never knew that trombone could sound like that!” said Griffin Cooper.

In anticipation of their set at the Clemson Music Festival, the band is trying to perfect their setlist while still reeling from the win. “Words really can’t describe how it feels to actually see our name in the official lineup,” said Ephron.

“This Love” by Maroon 5, the first song they ever played in a show, is a likely candidate for their Saturday setlist. Going from a gig in Backstreets to the main stage of a musical festival is a full circle moment for them and definitely not a performance to miss.

As exciting as it is, this upcoming performance is bittersweet. “We’re unsure about what our band’s going to look like in the future. Cooper will be moving to California soon, and me and Evan [Dwinnell] are graduating,” Ephron said.

“I don’t want to stop, but at the same time, if we did, I feel like this would be a great culmination to the entire experience,” Griffin Sanders noted, “It’s been a short journey, but it has been pedal to the metal incredible.”

“This was only a thing for pretty much the last year of my college career, but I feel like it’s one of the most defining things of my life in college,” Cooper Sanders added.

Here at Clemson, the band has found a community.

“The music scene here blew me away. I never could have imagined that I would have that at Clemson,” said Cooper Sanders. Encouragement from other performers, along with the immense support of Delta Sigma Pi, Clemson Sailing, TigerBand and WSBF-FM, has allowed Take Two to reach the point they’re at today.

Take Two is set to perform on Saturday, April 21, from 3:15 to 3:45 p.m. at the Clemson Music Festival. The two-day event will host over 10 performers this upcoming weekend, including the local and legendary band Take Two.

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Avery Mock
Avery Mock, TimeOut Editor
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    Beth SandersApr 19, 2024 at 3:08 pm

    I’m SO PROUD of Take Two!! Great job making your dream happen while giving the crowd a heck of a good time