Fro the Studio to the Stage: WPAA’s Battle of the Bands

Naked metal band, a duo of violin and cello and a touch of rapping made for an eclectic and comical music selection at Battle of the Bands 2007. With emcees Ben Laccetti ’08 and Teddy Curran ’08 hosting the show in packed Kemper Auditorium, and a panel consisting of Instructor in English Paul Tortorella, James Freeman ’07 and Instructor in Music Allen Combs judging the performances, this year’s Battle of Bands was characterized by the participants’ efforts to outdo one another with their rambunctious acts. Kentaro Watari ’07 on lead vocal, Toby Clark ’07 on drums and Pat Fender ’07 playing the bass kicked off the show with an original piece by the Bubbas. Though most audience members agreed that the song was “earsplittingly loud,” the judges said that the group did a bad job, because it was supposed to set a low standard for the rest of the bands to stand out, but had actually played well. After the Bubbas, Eli Howe, Alex Park, Kevin Ofori and Kyle Ofori, all ’09, played “Layla” by Eric Clapton, which, according to the panel of judges, was a good song selection. But due to a rough start and off-tempo solos, the performance was a disappointing one. The third group, Thuglife, played a song of its original composition. The judges said that they had a very nice lead vocal as well as a very consistent guitar background. After Thuglife’s piece, which won an enthusiastic response from the audience, the Tucker House Experience showed off their skills, with Chris Wade ’08 playing a solo on guitar and Laccetti on the tambourine. The stars of the night, Seven Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme, was a group consisting entirely of freshmen: Bijan Torabi, Matt Renner, Phil Hofer and the lead vocalist Duncan Crystal captured the audience’s attention with a hard metal act. The judges said, “It was a good blend of music, angst and hair,” referring to their vigorous head banging. Although the band was the youngest of all the bands and had only been playing together for one month, Seven Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme stunned the audience and judges alike with their intricate guitar solos and dark-sounding vocals. Some members from The Tucker House Experience and the Tuesday Morning Fun Club, the winning band, teamed up to perform their rendition of “Scotty Doesn’t Know,” a notable soundtrack from the movie “Eurotrip.” Nat Lavin ‘07’s diction and Wade’s complex solo impressed the judges. Since the majority of the audience had watched this movie, they were familiar with the song and some even sang along, chanting the chorus “Scotty Doesn’t Know.” Although Tortorella had not heard the song before, he said that it was an interesting selection. The seventh act by Jam Band took a very risky but interesting approach to their act. Band member Paul Spada ’09 pretended to play the guitar and, although a few people guessed earlier that he was faking due to his over-dramatic actions, it was a fun surprise for most of the audience. The next group, 68 Feet for Lease, was a very interesting act, as Hannah Lee ’10 and Ellen Blindauer ’10 played the violin and the cello. The judges commented on the balance of the sound because the violin and the cello were barely audible, but again said it was pretty good. For the last act of the first round, Olivia and the Peiphones, minus a few members, climbed on stage and serenaded the audience with a soft acoustic song. After the song ended, the judges said, “It was a little mellow for the last song of Battle of the Bands, but as always, [Olivia] had a nice voice.” For the second round, Thuglife, Tuesday Morning Fun Club, Seven Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme and the Tucker House Experience were called back to move onto the next round. Thuglife attempted to spin a Dido song by interspersing the melody with rap, although the judges later said that rapping was not very appropriate for Battle of the Bands. The band also attempted humor by stopping the song when the rapper said “drunk driving” to lecture him on what was appropriate for a “family show.” The Seven Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme was met with wild cheers from the audience, which only intensified when Crystal took off his shirt. The judges were impressed by the fact that it was an all-freshmen band and that they had only been playing together for a month. The third act in the second round was the Tucker House Experience, who performed “Ben’s Sensitive Song,” which ended with a lovely vocal rift by Laccetti. The judges said that it was “less rocking,” but “beautiful.” The Tuesday Morning Fun Club, who played a song that they wrote, concluded the second round. The judges said that they “liked the song and the tune, although it was a bit repetitive.” During the intermission, Evan Hawk ’08 and Laccetti danced on stage to Weiss’ rendition of Mickey Avalon’s “Jane Fonda.” The judges then announced the finalists: Seven Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme and Tuesday Morning Fun Club. Seven Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme played well, although the judges “liked the first two [of their songs] a bit better.” Nevertheless, the judges complemented their skills, especially with regards to their ages. After their performance, Tuesday Morning Fun Club rocked the stage with the song emphatically marking the ending of the battle. The judges declared that the final round had an “unbelievable two performances.” In the end, Tuesday Morning Fun Club, with Lavin, Hank Williams ’08, Weiss and Wade, was announced the winner of the Battle of the Bands 2007. The Battle of the Bands was an exciting event that showcased new student bands as well as ones that have been around for a few years. Chris Kim ’08 said, “Although it was similar to Abbot Cabaret, I had an awesome time listening to the student bands play their music.”