With the commotion that surrounded the upcoming Meliora Weekend, the Indie Fest Battle of the Bands came and went as one of the week’s hidden gems.
The event took place on Thursday, Oct. 10 at Drama House and featured six UR acts competing for the chance to play against Nazareth, Geneseo and RIT’s Battle of the Bands winner at the Bug Jar on Oct. 24.
The diverse range of forward-thinking musical acts plus the Drama House’s intimate ambience made the event engaging and enjoyable from start to finish.
The Battle kicked off with three acoustic acts: Easton Varner, Luke Metzler, and Sky People. Each project warmed the crowd up nicely with earnest and distinctly different performances. Varner’s set featured spacey and expansive folk-pop tunes, offset by Metzler’s bare bones acoustic punk.
Sky People, an acoustic duo, added greater diversity with their delicate, Paul Simon-inspired folk songs. All three projects, with their inventive and original music, served as a testament to the serious musical talent among the Rochester student body.
The energy in the room got more raucous when Park Lot Shuttle, a rock quartet, drove through a set of burners heavy in electric guitar, John Bonham style drum fills, and saxophone solos.
After that came Skirts, a punk rock project that delivered the most aggressive and raw set of the night.
Finally, Dry Heave + the Neckbeards made laptops their instruments, bringing the night to a close with a collection of industrial noise music.
Whether it was through Park Lot Shuttle’s combination of sax and rock guitar or Skirt’s use of a female singer in a punk group, the groups made the night more interesting with sets that celebrated the weird and unconventional.
In the end, Sky People took first place, winning the audience over with their smart songwriting and emotionally direct delivery. Still, all the bands brought something unique to the table, insuring that the two and a half hour event never felt boring or draining.
It would certainly be great for the school to host another event like the Battle of the Bands; maybe even one that could get more attention.
But on the other hand, sometimes the best things are meant to be hidden gems.
Howard is a member of the class of 2017.