Battle of the bands

Allison Bugg

Kuritss Hare, keyboarder from Monophonic Mass and graduate of Case Western University, warms up his keyboard before the band’s act. Check out more photos from the show at

Credit: Beth Rankin

Battle I

Anyone sitting down at the Rathskeller Feb. 1 can tell you the Battle of the Bands was a success. They can also tell you it was a stiff competition.

The first of six nights featured the hard rock/heavy metal competition, in which five bands fought head-to-head for first place and a chance to compete in the final battle.

Susan Heidinger, special events coordinator for the All Campus Programming Board, said she was thrilled with the turnout. An overwhelming number of students, as well as others, showed up.

Each band delivered its own unique style for 30 minutes, and 15-minute breaks between bands provided time for equipment set-up and a quick sound check.

Amanda Bryk, WKSR promotions director, and Mark Krugman, assistant promotions director, served as judges for the competition. Pre-journalism and mass communications major Brianna Ries also judged the event.

They evaluated each band based on a 10-point scale of four categories: talent/technical ability, stage presence, originality and musical ability/songwriting.

These scores accounted for 60 percent of a band’s total score, Heidinger said. Each audience member voted once to make up the remaining 40 percent.

Higher education administration graduate student Natasha Jankowski of Illinois said she went to the event with her roommate to see what the music scene in Kent was all about.

“I haven’t found much time to go out,” Jankowski said. “But I’m really impressed with the music and hope to make it out for the next night.”

The competition was very close, Heidinger said. It came right down to the audience’s vote at the end of the night.

“And the winner is,” she said, “Firestone Elementary!”

The crowd cheered as the band celebrated its victory. The group will be back April 5 to battle it out for the ultimate prize of a 10-hour studio package from Moondog Recording and a live performance at Flashfest.

About the bands

– Hemingway’s Shotgun is an emerging band out of Kent. The group got its name from a poet’s work and has been writing songs for almost a year.

Although it was the band’s first performance in front of a live audience, Hemingway’s Shotgun showed true style and charisma. Its songs featured an assortment of rhythmic guitar solos and good vocals.

– Drop to Zero is a hard rocking band from the Kent area. Formed five months ago, the group plays at local venues such as Peabody’s and Club Khameleon.

This high energy band rocked out with a hard-hitting set and showed good stage presence.

– End of Evolution is a band focused on finding the right sound. The group has been instrument swapping for the past six months and felt they were finally ready to play in front of a live audience.

The group seemed to be nervous at the start of their performance, but the nerves didn’t last long. The band played a hard sound with the help of two guitars.

– Firestone Elementary is a band formerly known as Civil Funk and most of the band’s members are from Youngstown. The group has been playing for almost five years.

While often featured at the Cellar in Youngstown, the group brings all the elements of a great band together. Their sound is complete with two guitarists, a bassist, drummer and a vocalist.

– Amplexus is another hard rocking band from the Kent area and has been playing together for seven months.

The group’s singer provides wide-ranging tones with a powerful voice. However, the band had to perform without the guitar player.

Battle II

A crowd gathered in front of the stage waiting for the next band to perform under the spotlights in the dark-lit basement of the Student Center.

The Battle of the Bands competition continued Tuesday night featuring the punk genre, in which four bands fought for first place.

At the end of the night, the winner was Yesterday’s Flight.

About the bands

– Left Stranded is a punk band from the Kent area who has been playing for eight months. They play random shows at the Odeon and entered the contest because it’s a great local show.

The group’s musical influences range from Aerosmith to Taking Back Sunday, which is apparent in their hard-rocking style.

– Monophonic Mass is an energetic band from Canton and is often featured at Sadie Rene’s. The group has been playing for roughly five months.

The band’s singer provides a solid foundation with a leading voice and they consider their music to be dark pop. The band’s keyboard player adds a lot to their unique sound.

– Starcrossed is a hard- rocking band that’s been around for almost seven years. The group has played at venues such as the Robin Hood, Europe Gyro and the Avenue, which is now Club Khameleon.

The group’s music can be described as loud and fun. Their first CD, Guitars are Science, is set to be released in a month and they hope to play a lot more local shows.

– Yesterday’s Flight consists of five experienced musicians. The members have all been in different bands, but have been together for a year and a half. They play at venues in Cleveland such as Peabody’s, The Pit and The Spot.

The band’s excellent drumming and combination of vocal styles heated up the race for the ultimate prize. They can be described as a cool punk band and The Getup Kids is one of the group’s many musical influences.

Contact local music reporter Allison Bugg at [email protected].