Screaming vocals, screeching guitars, rumbling bass lines and crashing drums reverberated throughout the Patch High School Forum May 14, as bands battled for a $300 prize, a day in a recording studio and pure bragging rights.
With the volume cranked up to eleven, and more than 300 screaming fans, the bands brought their talents to the table for the annual Battle of the Bands competition.
The ensembles had the opportunity to show all of their stage skills to the judges, who evaluated them based on stage presence, musicianship/skill, group unity, vocals, musical range and crowd appeal.
“Battle of the Bands gives high school players the chance to perform in front of their peers and community that they really don’t have over here in Europe, which goes on to encourage them in their musical pursuits,” said Todd Church, event organizer.
After a brief technical difficulty, Bring Forth the Messenger, the night’s second-place winner, opened their three-song set with a cover of Asking Alexandria’s “Alerion/I Was Once Possibly Perhaps a Cowboy King,” and worked the crowd into a frenzy with their head-banging tempo and crowd interaction.
“I thought we did really well. It was hard because we had so many technical difficulties, such as the trackover not working, the bass drum breaking, the curtains closing on us during [the] performance … It was rough,” said Xavier Thomas, lead vocalist and screamer for Bring Forth the Messenger. “But, we had fun, and we went out there and showed the crowd a newer style of music I’m sure they liked.”
Pocket Full of Sunshine, the night’s second band to take the stage and third-place winner, started their set of five songs with “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet. They were welcomed by screams from their fan base, who were holding up signs in the crowd. Their jam style of music was well received, as members of the audience began to sing along with the band’s lead singer, Eddie Eggleston.
“We wanted to have an alternative sound,” said Brent Lavodo, lead guitarist for Pocket Full of Sunshine. “Even though we lost, we still had fun.”
A Call to Arms, the night’s first-place winner, closed the evening with a strong 40-minute set consisting of eight songs. Opening with a cover of Attack Attack’s “Stick Stickly,” the band quickly took control of the crowd as strobe lights pulsed, and band members thrashed through their first set.
“We melted faces” said David Hopkins, a junior at PHS and bassist for the quintet. “ I felt our band has reached a milestone; it’s as if we killed our first buffalo, we’ve become men. We shredded from the heart, and I think everyone in the room knew it and felt it and understood it; we had a blast.”
A Call to Arms also performed an original song, and was cheered for an encore.
“I think they worked the crowd and kept them interested,” said John Taves, one of the judges and member of the local metal band, Rift. “They didn’t let the energy fade, and, on my score card, that’s what counts.”