Seven bands competed in the 2nd Annual Battle of the Bands presented by Tribe for the Cure: two punk bands, one folk band, one blues band, two cover bands and one jazz band. In the end, they were all terrific. For organizational purposes, I will address each band in turn.
Family Vacation came out first (after a late start) and rocked the auditorium with some solid blues-rock. Throughout its four-song set, the band had good riffs and solos coming from the guitar, along with repetitive, but smooth bass and percussion. The songs were driven by simple chord progressions which highlighted their attractive blues and seemingly traditional rock style. In addition, the singer’s wide pitch range showcased the band’s narrative lyrics.
The Pyramidions gained the stage next and, boy, what a show. The group had a strong punk influence, heard in their simple, fast harmonies and seen in the chaotic and unorganized performance of their material. Don’t get me wrong — the music was good, but their stage presence was off the hook as members of the band jammed out in all fashions. They yelled and jumped around, and once they practically slammed a keyboard on the ground. Musically, the group’s indistinguishable lyrics were appropriate even though my attention was mainly captured by its loud guitar riffs and quick drumming. In the end, it jammed so hard that it tore apart the stage in its last song.
Another punk band, Wind for Wings, continued enthusiastically in The Pyramidions’ energetic wake. It sped through songs briskly, with the vocalist screaming away at the mic about alcoholism and similar problems. Throughout the band’s performance, the singer dropped a couple of F-bombs, but it fit the performance (which was more organized than its predecessor’s). The vocalist had a strong stage presence, which was seen when he broke the microphone twice during the performance.
My personal favorite and winner of the competition, the traditional rock/cover band Nancy Grace and the Slothanadas, came out with a nostalgic singing style reminiscent of Blink-182. It had one original song and covered three others, which were all well done. All of the covers were energetic and accurate.
Next, the ever-popular Tsuki Bomb emerged as the sole folk representative at the competition. All of the band’s stringed instruments blended very well together to produce simple yet very catchy melodies that a majority of the audience enjoyed. The singers had very good chemistry between each other, complementing each other’s singing styles, which were definitely delightful to hear.
The band which finished in second place, the jazz group Mary and the Williams, performed with a terrifically smooth approach, opening with a piano solo before the band started improvising together. The band was, interestingly, going for the single sound aesthetic, which was accomplished with the complementing styles of their instruments. It was quite beautiful, to put it succinctly.
Lastly, the band Treedust successfully covered several modern songs, including Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and Kanye West’s “Bound 2.” The band’s songs were varied, which was delightful and effectively grabbed my attention.