A showdown of drum hits, guitar strums, and passionate voices came to a climax this Thursday at the Hub during A.S. Program Board’s annual Battle of the Bands. This year, the battle was between The Nitwits, Posterchild, The Six Sevens, Walter Lewin’s Dotted Lines, and The Violent Delights.
The Nitwits started out the night with a brash, dashing, and debonair style. Lead singer Bryson Rawn made unique choices on delivering the lyrics that gave their songs an extra playfulness which distinguished them from the others. Even among the large crowd, Rawn flirted with every single one of the audience members with his frisky delivery of each line. The bass guitarist, which often gets put in the background, also was given a powerful, crowd-pleasing solo. Even with only three players on the stage, making them the smallest of all the participating bands, the Nitwits put up just as strong a fight as the other bands.
Among all the finalists, Posterchild has got to be one of the most visually satisfying bands to watch live. The musicians twirled, twisted, and swirled about themselves, inviting the audience to move with them as well. The combination of lead singer Julia Feldman’s moves and guitarist Moh Dalloul’s ability to play his guitar while carrying it on his back led to a fantastic visual feast. The crowd seemed to agree as well, as people hollered, pushed, pulled, and crazily hopped in place in response to Posterchild’s theatrics.
The Six Sevens also had a unique way to make you smile, while keyboardist Jordan Crosby (the only one in the competition) also provided a breath of fresh air. After rocking out to heavy electric guitar for more than an hour, the refreshing chime of piano soothed my thumping ear drums. At the end of the night, lead singer Clay Wilson’s voice was the one that stayed stuck inside my head. The Six Sevens’s music and vocals had an extra layer of genuine quality that cut through the roar of the crowd right into your dopamine receptors.
Their willingness to make direct eye contact with the audience while playing their original song “Friend” created a unique sensation. You’d find yourself singing along because it’s just too difficult to reject the overwhelming friendliness. Their performance, when you are immersed in it, does not feel like a performance. Instead, it feels more like an extraordinary friend-date on a Friday night, as if they were your closest companions, and they want to do everything to make sure you know how much they appreciate you.
Walter Lewin’s Dotted Lines was perhaps the most instrumental-heavy band of the night. The use of an electric synthesizer also added many things to their instrumentals. Sometimes it was a string of flares, a resounding crackle, or a uplifting detonation. In their last show before their name change to This Is Napoleon?, WLDL infused a harsh, melancholy tone into all of their songs, regardless of genre. Instead of using words from their lead singer, the entire band functioned together to convey their message. The inconstant beat of drums blended with gentle punches of guitar to pour out the bottled emotions of the band members.
When The Violent Delights came onstage, the most differentiating feature had got to be the glistening trumpet among the guitars and basses. The trumpet bursted through the night as the featured instrument that set the Violent Delights apart from other competitors. The bright resonance of trumpet sends trembles down your body that made it difficult to not sway along. Although the trumpet didn’t feature in every song, the band maintained a jazz/rock hybrid theme throughout. They beautifully incorporated the trumpet’s majestic blows into backstreet, swingy sounds. The lead singer also had the strong, deep voice of a rocker, which injected life and passion into each song. Fortunately, as the crowd got passionate, no violence was done, only delight.
The mesmerizing night ended with the prize placement: Posterchild took third place, The Walter Lewin’s Dotted Lines took second, and The Six Sevens emerged victorious in first place. Fans of all the bands will not be disappointed, as this is definitely not the last time they will perform this year. Just head into Isla Vista and you’ll likely hear some of them practicing around the corner. If you’re unsatisfied listening to just 20 minutes of The Six Sevens, head to their SoundCloud with your “Friends.”
Feb. 14, 11:05 p.m.: A previous version of this article stated that The Violent Delights placed second. Walter Lewin’s Dotted Lines did.