The tables in Douglass Dining Center were cleared away last Friday night to make room for the two dueling stages used in UR’s first Battle of the Bands competition.
The event, organized and executed by UR Concerts, featured nine groups, each given 15 minutes to perform while they were rated by a panel of five judges. While the majority of band members were UR students, some traveled from as far as North Carolina to participate in the event.
The winning act, Fortunado, a self-described ska-punk band, was awarded the opportunity to perform an hour long set at an upcoming concert on April 22 at Milestones, a local venue on East Avenue. They will provide the opening act for the Syracuse band Candid.
The lead singer of Fortunado, Sean Elligers, showed a great deal of excitement at the prospect of playing at the local nightclub. This was the band’s first performance after taking a break and they were happy to be off of hiatus.
“It felt good on stage,” Elligers said when asked how he thought the performance went. “We just hope we looked and sounded as good as we felt.”
“We hope to do a ten day tour over the summer,” drummer Justin Yerrier added. “Hopefully we’ll be able to come back into this area.”
Judges seemed to think so, as deliberation took just a few minutes after the last performance ended. Judge John Covach, professor of music, said that in making his decision on who to award the grand prize to he considered musical talent and tried to predict how they would be received at Milestones.
While Fortunado stole the show with a high-energy performance featuring lively trumpet solos and stage presence, they were not without strong competition. Other bands delivered solid performances that were duly noted by judges.
The Magnolias, for example, opened the show with relaxed melodic music. Lead singer and senior Amos Rosenstein encouraged everyone to enjoy themselves and to continue to support live campus music. This request was echoed later in the show by senior David Ladon. His band, More Cowbell, performed a set with beats reminiscent of 60s jams, intermixed with occasional hippie jokes.
Room 30, a ska and rock band from the Rochester area, changed the pace of the night by delivering a solid and fast paced set, squeezing four songs into their fifteen minutes. The crowd cheered along as the lead singer dedicated different songs to audience members.
Andover Trift, the final act of the evening, played with a traditional rock style. Audience members pulled up chairs and waited in anticipation for the band, which featured a solid saxophonist.
Even the solo acoustic performance by Ryan Dilmore during intermission and the freestyle of UR Hip Hop were well received by the audience. The event’s MC, junior Shane Campbell-Staton, entertained the audience with his beat-boxing skills while the judges were sat in deliberation.
Other featured bands were E.C.T., Myriad and Outside the Lines.
“There was something for everyone,” sophomore Jessica Bell-Masterson said. “It just would have been nice to see more people there to get into the music.”
The turnout for the event was by no means small but it was dynamic. Many people came and went throughout the night. Overall, the UR Concerts staff was pleased with the attendance, quality of the performances and the venue.
“This was a successful production and we hope to make modifications to produce better shows that attract even more attendees in the future,” UR Concerts president and junior Nicole Schaeffer said.
Jurgensen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.