The food trucks took off and the stage lights were dismantled while Box the Oxford packed up from its encore. After two and a half hours of joyful noise, complimentary refreshments and youthful exuberance, Associated Student, Inc.’s (ASI) Battle of the Bands came to a close Friday night.
Of the five participating bands, all proved polished and professional, but only one will receive the privilege of being the opening act at this year’s Spring Stampede. The results from the vote will be made available Monday, which allows me a precious few days to do what any self-proclaimed expert analyst ought to; make unscientific predictions based on gut feelings. My gut is feeling delightfully satisfied after all that free food, so in following the spirit of our Battle of the Bands preview, here’s the hearty breakdown of the performances and the expected results.
As the first band onstage, the Pacifics were shorted a bit on what turned out to be a quality showing. The sound technicians had not yet perfected their bass balance, so whatever came out of the speakers at first was muddled and ugly. Luckily, the true sound of The Pacific’s uptempo indie blues soon poked through. Slick guitar licks and intricate solos from guitarists physics senior Bryce Parry and business administration junior Ryan Corvese combined with the powerful, polished drumming of agricultural business sophomore Drew Miller delivered some tracks worth dancing to. The only downsides were a lack of musical range and a slightly lackluster stage presence. Dancing starts with the musicians!
Critic rank: 3rd
Expected audience rank: 4th
This guitar/drums duo seemed to catch everyone by surprise. How did they manage to capture such variation in sound with only two people? Like The Pacifics, Hopeless Romantics stayed firmly in the blues-rock category, but guitarist and singer Isaac Rubin added some spice to the bland concrete Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU) stage, playing so expressively through four upbeat songs with angsty lyrics that he broke a string. Drummer and psychology senior Michael Azevedo kept the crowd entertained with an impromptu drum solo while Rubin retrieved a backup guitar. All around, a top-notch 20 minutes of stage time.
Critic Rank: 1st
Expected Audience Rank: 3rd
This bunch of future scientists and engineers embraced their perceived nerdiness, bringing a math-inspired setlist that could be described as formulaic or simply true to their sound. They were loud, as a good pop-alt-rock band should be, and easily the most animated performers. Head-banging was par for the course, as any Weezer fan should know. honestly, nothing. benefitted from strong lead guitar and permanent smiles.
Critic Rank: 4th
Expected Audience Rank: 2nd
Sometimes genre, rather than talent, is the primary obstacle for musicians. That was certainly the case with Bearcats. The duo of bassist and vocalist Lisa Harrison and drummer and journalism senior Lexi McCoy would have been formidable in the right setting, but their deep, monotone garage rock felt out of place among a quartet of more upbeat bands. A mostly static stage presence was not enough to get heads bobbing and bodies swaying. Bearcats was, however, the epitome of consistency and actually a welcome departure from the mainstream. Harrison didn’t miss a note on bass, but in the public eye there was honestly, nothing they could have done to win over the UU occupants, at least not with their genre.
Critic Rank: 5th
Expected Audience Rank: 5th
Box the Oxford
It was obvious why Box the Oxford was slated to go on last. It had the gimmicks, the resonant frequencies and the reputation to earn the spot. It started with their custom temporary tattoos. What person under the age of 30 could resist? Then they broke out the beach balls for their third song. Yes, Box the Oxford knows how to work a crowd. This crowd was particularly receptive to their California surf-rock vibes, which were the cleanest and best-produced of the night. Those few people at every concert who dance like nobody’s watching seemed to multiply with each song. That’s perhaps the highest possible praise for a performing band. No wonder they exited to chants of “One more song!”
Critic Rank: 2nd
Expected Audience Rank: 1st