ARCHIVED: Battle of the Bands Debuts at SLC

by Jess Unger '13

There was a frenetic energy in the crowd packed into the Blue Room—this was like every 15 minutes, everybody in the room was getting an adrenaline shot straight to the arteries. At the first-ever Battle of the Bands in April, each of the seven music acts had just 15 minutes in the limelight, which made for a high-intensity show. "It was definitely a different energy—there was no sound check, and you only had so much time for your band, so that made it really high octane," recalls Racecar Racecar drummer Sam Monaco '11.

Victory would go to the most popular band, as determined by a decibel meter manned by a member of the Sarah Lawrence Activities Council, which sponsored the event.

The Battle of the Bands featured a variety of musical acts from the campus music community. Andrew Sarrion '13, who played with the energetic rock band No Johns, enjoyed the diversity of the groups performing: "There was a startup aspect to it. We all knew of each other before the Battle of the Bands, but I finally got to hear what these other guys were doing.." Monaco adds that the fixed set times and brutally short set changes spurred a new degree of communication between performers just to keep the music going: "We all had to work together. There was definitely a sense of camaraderie to it."

The event also brought new audiences to some of the performers. While rockers Racecar Racecar, girl-punk outfit Slothrust, and recently formed blues-rock group The Thirds were Blue Room veterans, left-field rappers Chantz Erolin '14 and Phaedo (Matt Nestor '11) had spent more time performing at Black Squirrel open mics—and No Johns and the instrumentalists in Nicolas hadn’t played on campus before, period. "I feel like the audience was sort of sectioned up, and that it was up to us as performers to bridge that divide," Erolin said. "Some kids came for not you, so the challenge was to win over the whole audience. I enjoy that kind of challenge."

In the end, Slothrust and The Thirds tied for first place, both hitting maximum levels of applause noise on the decibel meter. They cordially agreed to share the prizes: a $300 gift card to Guitar Center and an opportunity to play at Bacchanalia, the end-of-year music fest.