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Letters to the Editor

Everyone Wins at Battle of the Bands

The review last week of Battle of the Bands (Concert Review: No One Wins in Battle of the Bands, April 14, 2006) displayed a lack of knowledge of rock music. While we cannot speak for the 511 prefrosh and students, the brothers of Zeta Beta Tau, and the performing bands who attended the concert on April 8, 2006, we thought BOTB was a great showcase of rock talent from the Boston area and beyond.

The main complaint was that BOTB was “too loud.” OK, we won’t argue with that. However, this complaint is equivalent to going to an opera and complaining about the lead soprano’s glass-shattering notes. It is an inherent property of the music. In fact, we must admit to taking a short break outside to regain our hearing. But we know that a difference between attending a rock concert and listening to an uncomfortably loud CD is the atmosphere that accompanies it. Atmosphere includes mosh pits, pounding speakers, crowd surfing, and the overall mayhem that inevitably occurs when fans get into the music. People will not get energized if the music is played at levels appropriate for a country club luncheon. Bottom line: the music was played at a comfortable rock concert level.

In addition, the critique did not offer insight into the quality of the music, besides caustic and unsubstantiated comments about some bands’ resemblance to a “jumble of instruments.” The event organizers spent several months choosing the ten best bands out of the seventy that applied. The result of all their hard work was a diverse group of talented, experienced, and entertaining performers representing different styles of rock, ranging from Medicated Kisses’ hardcore punk to the reggae/funk sounds of Spiritual Rez. Even Tim the Beaver couldn’t resist the urge to crowd surf to Sweetfist’s fun music.

Finally, we would expect more fact-checking — the person who yelled, “Thanks for admitting me” to Marilee Jones was not a prefrosh, but an MIT senior. The joke about Upper Hand’s song, “Difference between you and quantum physics,” was also inappropriate since only the lead singer attends MIT; the rest of the band is from New Jersey. The criticism of alternating stages at BOTB was clearly missed the point of the event — Would it have been better to have one stage and a six-hour show? It’s also difficult to review a concert while you spend half of it outside — you can’t critique a movie without watching it. We were able to appreciate MIT’s 4th annual Battle of the Bands and we look forward to BOTB 2007 next year!

Melis N. Anahtar ’08 and Anna Teytelman ’08

BOTB’s Music was Misinterpreted 

The Tech’s review of the music of ZBT’s CPW Battle of the Bands was off-target. The review mentions a distinct “punk rock” style of the bands. In response, it should be made clear that over half the bands would qualify as ska/rocksteady bands. Of the remaining bands, I didn’t hear a single one that reminded me of The Ramones, NOFX, The Buzzcocks, Pennywise, Minor Threat, The Clash, or any of a thousand bands associated with punk rock from the late 1970’s through the 1990’s.

Coincidentally, I did find that High Voltage Research Lab reminded me a bit of good Green Day, which by a slight stretch might even be classified as punk, but still, but they were compared to Neil Young. While Neil Young has assumed many different sounds and styles in his career, few would argue he has ever sounded like High Voltage Research Lab. High Voltage Research Lab’s songs are more complicated, faster, more hard-rocking, less lyrically involved, and much, much longer than even the hardest songs Neil Young ever produced — including his late eighties rock album, Freedom. In contrast, for most of Neil Young’s career, his sound straddled the melodic sensibility of country music while displaying the stripped-down nature of folk music.

Of course I do agree with the review in some regards. I agree that the event, three hours in length, was very long, and there was little seating. And when Marilee Jones sang, it was pretty awesome.

Bill Supplee is a member of the class of 2007 and The Hong Kong Regulars, a band that performed at BOTB.