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Battle of the Bands a success

Liz Harter | Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Music fans rocked out Saturday at Saint Mary’s first ever Battle of the Bands competition. A crowd of approximately 50 people gathered in the College’s student center to listen to four bands and two solo artists, all Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students.

The performers were competing to open for the nationally-touring group Phantom Planet when they play at “SMC Tostal” this spring. The winner also received 24 hours studio recording time.

Emo-rock band Somersault opened the show and was well received by the crowd as they preformed three original songs. Their music got everyone out of their seats and gathered around the stage.

Following Somersault was solo artist Robbie Hazen. Hazen really worked the crowd, performing five cover songs while asking the audience to sing along if they knew the words. He also sang three original songs and infused humor into his set, making fun of his roommate with one of his songs, which the crowd seemed to really enjoy.

Slap Bracelet Suicide, the self-proclaimed “only metal band at Notre Dame” took the stage next, treating the crowd to non-stop music with great beats. The audience really got into their set, dancing and yelling for the band.

“I liked how Slap Bracelet Suicide interacted with the crowd,” stated audience member Lindsey Appelquist “They were different from the Notre Dame norm, which was a welcome contrast.”

The crowd seemed to dwindle after intermission, though they missed another crowd favorite, two-man group Hyde. At the beginning of the four-song set, people were still trickling back into the concert, though after the first song Hyde played, most were riveted.

“The lyrics were original and seemed heartfelt,” stated student Deirdre Hayden. “The piano was a nice touch too.”

While Slap Bracelet Suicide got a heavy amount of praise when they were announced, it seemed as though Hyde won the crowd over by the end of their set with their subdued sounds.

The second to last performer, Ryan Connaughton, also played cover songs. He got everyone singing when he played his acoustic version of the popular Fall Out Boy Song “Sugar We’re Goin’ Down.” He had an interesting voice and kept the attention of the crowd throughout all five of his songs.

The final performer of the evening was the group Speedplay, which brought the energy of the show back up for its finale. They had to think fast when their guitarist’s string broke at the end of the first song, but they held on to the crowd throughout.

While all of the bands provided something for all musical tastes, the judges had to choose one to take the top prize. The judges, music producer and sound engineer Ulysses Noriega and the indie-rock band Thornbird, chose Slap Bracelet Suicide for first place. Before announcing the winners, the judges stated that there had been a lot of disagreement between them. However, Francesca Johnson, president of the Class of 2009, clarified later in the evening that the judges said Slap Bracelet Suicide showed a lot of creativity for that particular type of music.

All the performers from Saturday received studio time, and Robbie Hazen, who came in second place, also won a Thursday spot at Legends.

The disagreement over the winner did not just stay between the judges.

“Hyde was poorly placed because they had original lyrics, which was mesmerizing,” said audience member Valerie Patterson.

The Battle of the Bands raised money to benefit Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. It was the first of the fundraisers planned by the freshman board to raise money for this cause, which will culminate in the Dance Marathon in April.

“We’re still looking for dancers,” Johnson adds.

Students can contact Saint Mary’s First Year Board for information regarding this event.