There are very few occasions when the words “acoustic” and “battle” can be used in the same sentence, but last Friday at the College Union Board’s (CUB) Acoustic Battle of the Bands, several of the College’s bands turned up to compete for a chance to open for Saves the Day at Kendall Hall in December. In the end, Selkow and John Dutton & Eric Paulsen earned a shot at the opening gig.
The first act to take the stage was the three-piece group, Frankenstein’s Alibi. Although there were a few positive responses from the audience, much of the music brought forth from this band seemed a bit too cluttered and frenzied.
The next act, Selkow, turned out to be one of the most well-received acts of the night. With simple, down-to-earth lyrics and an honest way about them, this duo referenced everything from the mammoth to the mundane in their performance. Their song “Me,” is a perfect example of their bluesy, stream of consciousness style, much of which is due to the skillful abilities of lead singer Ben Selkow.
“We just played the NYC marathon last week,” Selkow said. “It was pretty cool playing and having 50,000 people run past you. Even Katie Holmes was in there somewhere.”
After the third act turned out to be a no-show, Selkow single-handedly took the stage and started to do cover songs until the next act arrived. The covers, most of which were tracks from the ’90s such as “Wonderwall” and “Disarm,” were a nice treat to keep the audience content.
Seniors John Dutton and Eric Paulsen took the stage next, and offered a casual performance reminiscent of John Mayer, with a great deal of humor added.
As the acts mulled around and relaxed after the final performance of the night, members of CUB tallied their votes for which band would win its Battle of the Bands. The scoring system is made up of six criteria including audience reaction, visual presentation, musicianship, overall performance and originality.
CUB members junior Stephen Hunt and sophomore Jess Dalpe took the stage to announce the winners of the battle. The two winning acts, Selkow and John Dutton & Eric Paulsen, will have their music sent to Saves the Day. From there the band will decide which group it wants as the opener.
After the show, as the bands and students were filing out of the Rat, Stephen Hunt talked about the event’s history.
“Last year I started this and it’s become a tradition so I’d like to carry that on,” Hunt said. “It’s great that a band like Saves the Day can give us an opportunity to do something like this. Most bands don’t usually allow stuff like this to happen.”