The Battle of Lobdell
The Quitters Win, MIT A / V LosesBy Petar Simich
MIT Battle of the Bands 2
April 17, 8 p.m.
$10 general admission, $5 for MIT/Wellesley, $3 for prefrosh
ZBT does it again by bringing the amazing Battle of the Bands competition to MIT for the second time. Ten local bands competed to win $1000, $500, and $250 gift certificates to Guitar Center for first, second, and third place, respectively. Technical problems seemed to be the name of the game Saturday night, as the competition was delayed by 30 minutes because of MIT A/V equipment difficulties. This persisted throughout the night: instruments wouldn’t be mixed right, and several times the microphone would cut out on the singers right in the middle of a song. Thank goodness the bands had the guts to keep it together and endure the screw-ups.
The competition this year was just as good as last year, with some bands reappearing for a second try at the title. First up was The Tint, a good old-rock/post-punk four-piece with a crazy, shouting drummer and a keyboard adding in some new wavy sounds. Their energetic performance got everything off to a good start.
Next was MIT’s Mango Lazy, an okay cover band that I was going to write off until they did a cover of Ernie’s (of Sesame Street fame) “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon,” which was going great until MIT A/V Ruined it by killing the microphone! Ahem.
Third up was Big Top Vertigo. I never realized how big the fret board of a seven-stringed bass was. They had a very strong pop/rock sound, and although they had good stage presence and vocal harmonies, it still bewilders me why anyone would want to make and enjoy such music.
Sonic Bonnet, the third place winner of the previous Battle of the Bands competition, put on an awesome set. The three guy musicians and one gal singer had plenty of energy and played their brand of alternative rock that showed the band’s musical growth over the year, going beyond the traditional verse-chorus-verse song structure. They ended their set with the ever-incredible “Hammermill” whose pounding bass line, steadily plodding guitar and drums, and great singing exploded in the most powerful musical climax of the night.
The following band was Concept6, which included a cello and violin to their lineup. They had some interesting acoustic guitar, bass, and piano interplay going on in their song “Berklee Cats,” but other than that the rest sounded like an emulation of other Christian rock songs already out there.
Two more MIT competitors from last year showed up: Our Friend Glenn and The Saga Continues. Our Friend Glenn’s playing was tighter than last year, but despite this and their fun cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” their rock songs were still rather bland. A little more originality and dynamics wouldn’t hurt. The Saga Continues put on a rather disappointing performance. Their catchy four-chord rocker “Charlene” couldn’t make up for the previous boring songs, and the crowd surfing didn’t improve anything. Too bad, their set last year was quite enjoyable.
Following was Chimp Simple. They played safe and not very exciting country-influenced rock, not too dissimilar from a lot of the stuff you can hear on a classic rock station. Too bad they were also victims to MIT A/V’S tendency to shut off the microphone while the vocalist was singing! Ahem.
Next was The Quitters, a ska/punk band. Someone forgot to tell them that it isn’t 1997 anymore. I can’t believe that I’m going to say this: Although I have the strong opinion that ska/punk should die a horrible, violent death, The Quitters put on the most entertaining set that night. In an amusing display of absurdness, people were jumping around, running up on stage, and before you knew it, a mosh pit was formed. The female vocalist, who was the best vocalist of the night, even held a competition and gave $10 to the best dancer in the crowd. This craziness ensured the title would be theirs.
Last was Six Day Slide, a very bland pop/rock combo whose performance was highlighted solely by the hilarious dancing guy and gal prefrosh at the front of the crowd. It was adorable nerd love.
Finally, the judges made their decisions, and again they showed their incredibly awful taste for pop/rock. The Quitters got the coveted first place, which they did deserve if you look at it from an entertainment instead of a musical standpoint. Their pick of Six Day Slide for third place, however, got a loud what-the-#$%&! from me. Big Top Vertigo got second, which is okay I guess, but heck, the judges should have awarded the originality, energy, and great songs of The Tint and Sonic Bonnet. Here’s hoping that the judges redeem themselves at next year’s Battle of the Bands competition, which is on its way to becoming installed in the traditions of the Institute.