The sign on the door read “18+ to enter.” According to the rules, most of the band EG Beat could have been stopped at the door. But they were not patrons, they were performers, and they stole the show Saturday, winning WTSR’s Battle of the Bands.
The Battle featured six bands from the tri-state area in competition and showcased two others. Because of problems with booking the Rat, all of the bands in competition were from outside the College.
“It was basically all word-of-mouth, because we had trouble booking the venue,” Mike Leahey, senior professional writing major and promotions director for WTSR, said. “We weren’t restricted to off-campus bands, but we couldn’t officially advertise on campus.”
The event was judged by six students representing a wide range of campus organizations. Each band was rated in categories like musical talent and showmanship, and first, second and third place prizes were awarded to the bands with the highest scores. “We tried to get judges who were really knowledgeable about the music and also represented a lot of organizations,” Megan Baglivio, junior special education major and WTSR station manager, said.
When the scores were tallied, EG Beat, a seven-member high school ska band from East Greenwich, N.J., was announced the winner. “We didn’t really expect it,” bassist Patrick Danner said. “Most of these bands have been playing together much longer than us.”
The band, whose members range in age from 15-18, has only been performing together for eight months. Recently, the band added a horn section to enhance their ska sound. Playing a mix of original songs and covers like Sublime’s “Santeria,” EG Beat won over the judges.
When asked about musical influences, EG Beat listed a range from classic rock and Sublime to Streetlight Manifesto and the Toasters. Their sound, however, was reminiscent of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and vintage No Doubt. Lead singer Kristy Goldy impressed the judges and the crowd with her powerful, Stefani-like vocals.
As the winners, EG Beat’s four singles will be put into heavy rotation on WTSR and the band will be featured in an upcoming Friday night interview. The band also won free studio time to record a three-song EP at Frankensound studio in New Brunswick, N.J.
The second place band, upsincefriday, is a rock quartet from Philadelphia, Pa. Their prize package included an interview and low rotation on WTSR. Two third place prizes were awarded for a tie between Modera, a punk quartet from West Chester, Pa., and Still Frame Deity, whose young guitarist gained praise from judges and audience members. “The guitarist from Still Frame Deity was incredible,” Leahey said. “And he’s only 14.” Both bands’ singles will go into low rotation on WTSR, and each will be given a Friday night interview.
The audience, event staff and judges enjoyed the all-day event because of the musical variety. “Each band played a different style, and each had their strengths and their weaknesses,” Daniel Salman, junior mechanical engineering major and judge, said. “I thought it was well worth my time to come out and listen to some music.”
Overall, the day was a success and WTSR hopes to make Battle of the Bands an annual event. As for the winners, their ambitions were slightly loftier. Though they’ve played popular Philadelphia venues like the Trocadero in the past, EG Beat is hoping to break out of the Philly scene. “We’re hoping for more shows in North Jersey,” Goldy said. And in the distant future? “Get big,” Goldy said with a smile. They may be on their way.