The Travers/Wolfe Main Lounge almost burst with fun and excitement on Feb. 29, when WTSR’s annual Battle of the Bands took place. Four bands competed for the chance to win a slot in high rotation on the station for one month, meaning their songs would be played as frequently as the rest of the albums on WTSR’s top 25 sheet. The winning act would also claim an additional month on low rotation, as well as a photo and Web site link on wtsr.org, and 250 black and white stickers from Contagious Graphics.
Ultimately, traditional Jersey hardcore act ArmsRace tied with the power-pop trio of The Molotov Cocktails to earn first-place honors and the coveted high-rotation slot.Pegasus Jetpack, the indie/pop brainchild of sophomore business major Jon Irrizary, took second, and will receive a month of low rotation and will have their picture and a link to their Web site on the WTSR site.
The event was hosted by WTSR as an annual fundraiser, but Promotions Director Mandy Hauck explained that the incentives went beyond money.
“(We want) to expose the campus to diverse local bands, have a good time and listen to music . to give something to the campus to enjoy,” Hauck said.
Attic, the evening’s opening act, played a softer set that was mellow, but had a slight beat, and covered various songs such as “Volcano” by Damien Rice, “Ordinary People” by John Legend and “Too Good to Be True” by Lauryn Hill. Mina Greiss, junior biology major, sang with a smooth, soulful voice backed by acoustic guitar, piano and occasional drums. The band played a few of its own songs, including “Roundabout,” written and sung by guitarist/drummer Dan McFadden, junior psychology major. Although they started strong, they were cut short because of technical issues with a CD.
The Molotov Cocktails, a high-energy three-piece group that mixed pop, funk and rock, followed Attic. The audience formed a semi-circle around them, heads bopping and feet tapping. Everyone laughed when singer/guitarist Adam Streicher joked about getting an infamous parking ticket.
“Aren’t the police really friendly? They’re super terrific,” Streicher said sarcastically
They played original songs like “Fifteen Dollars, Pour the Pitcher,” “Kiss You Everywhere,” and their favorite, “Stiches.”
Hamilton-based ArmsRace changed the night’s pace with a hybrid mashed-up sound, combining pop-punk, hardcore/punk and even a little alternative, doubling their synth use for an extra twist. A few of the songs had long instrumental segments, with lots of hard snare drum, some distortion and melodic guitar solos. Scott Silvester and Kevin Shinkle traded parts with the vocals, alternating between singing and the screams traditional in the hardcore genre.
Pegasus Jetpack was the final band to perform, fusing alternative, indie and pop. They came onstage in swimming gear, claiming to want a beach party in the middle of winter. Singer/pianist Jon Irizarry, sophomore business major whose voice is a little reminiscent of Brian Molko of Placebo, played with purple swimmies on while bassist Rick Rogers was dressed as a lifeguard. Audience participation was high as beach balls were thrown and tossed around the room while the band played the crowd-pleasing, “All I Can Give.”