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Miami’s Guitar Club rocks Uptown Park with this semester’s Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands was held by Miami’s Guitar Club on April 13.
Battle of the Bands was held by Miami’s Guitar Club on April 13.

Saturday offered a rare treat for the community as Miami’s Guitar Club was hosting this semester’s Battle of the Bands. Featuring a total of 13 bands and carrying on for over seven hours, the competition attracted a wide audience and was enjoyed by all.

“I love good live music … especially when it’s Miami students. It’s just good to see what people are up to,” Sophomore Katie Dunn said. “I would do this every Saturday. It’s refreshing. There’s just a lot of energy.” 

The competition began sharply at 3 p.m. with The Crimson Blue, the winner of the Standout Performer award as well as Best Original Song. Performing a mix of rock classics and original material, the band had impeccable sound and great energy, thanks to its dynamic frontwoman, Anna Voss.

The band revealed during its set that its debut album will be released soon.

Following The Crimson Blue was Roy Hat, performing a handful of crowd-pleasing folk rock favorites such as “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by the late, great Tom Petty. The quartet, anchored by the deep grooves of first-year student Royce Hatley, who the band was named after, was clearly well-prepared, performing each piece with great confidence.

Gary took the stage with a brief set featuring classic blues complete with some seriously impressive shredding on the harmonica.

Local favorite Pallet Jack then took the stage, performing an aggressive and energetic set, sure to please any fans of classic punk such as Agent Orange and The Replacements.

Many students attending said they were there for Pallet Jack. 

“Pallet Jack is always a lot of fun,” Garrett, a member of the audience, said. “I’ve been to their concerts before, and it's always so much fun.” 

With less players than normal, the band still showed up to have a successful performance for the growing crowd. 

“We were going to do what every band here was doing, but we had members drop out and so we decided there’s one thing to do, and that’s to get really loud and really fast,” the band’s frontman and senior at Miami, Karsen Davidson, said.

“I wish I wasn’t graduating … this was fun,” drummer Trevor Ifft said. “I’m glad there’s people here watching it, too.”

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After Pallet Jack came The Morrissees, Boo and MUDF, whose performances included everything from 2000s post-punk revival to vocal jazz, providing some much needed variety and dynamics to the competition. 

Former Miami student and current Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music student, Alex Terwilliger, graced the audience with an incredible vocal and piano performance featuring music by Billy Joel.

As the sun was going down and the energy of Uptown steadily grew, the vibes shifted dramatically when experimental post-rock band Juicebox took the stage.

“This incorporates a lot of noise rock, but there’s also post-metal and post-rock, which have these really sprawling songs with a lot of repetition,” guitarist and recent Miami graduate Max Fullen said. “Famous bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Swans and Boris.”

“I’ve always wanted to do a noise record with a full band,” guitarist Sean Dahar said. “We got together; Noah [drums] didn't even know we were recording. We decided just to improvise, and that exact session ended up being our first album.”

Juicebox’s performance was a highlight of the evening, as the band had a noticeably different sound than any other band present. The band had an interesting approach to music as it spoke about how it incorporates live improvisation into its performances, which is relatively uncommon in rock music.

Whether you could vibe with it or not, Juicebox’s performance was, without a doubt, one of the most memorable and unique performances of the night.

Rapture Chair was the next band of the evening, and marked a return to more energetic, crowd-pleasing tunes, performing songs by Paramore, Deftones and Turnstile.

Up next was the overall winner of the Battle of the Bands, Dust and Guitars, a power trio performing ’90s alternative classics with an impeccable presence. They made the bold move of opening with Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and would go onto play other classics such as “Where’s My Mind,” “My Hero” and “In Bloom.” 

Judging by the crowd’s response, Dust and Guitars qualified as a contender for the overall winner, with audience members gathering close to the stage and singing along. 

The night was closed out by the club president’s band, Bananarchy, who should have been awarded Best Band Name.

Photo by Sarah Frosch | The Miami Student
Several student bands played at the event, which lasted from 3-10 p.m.

Opening with ’90s anthem “Everlong,” and closing with “Teenage Dirtbag,” Bananarchy enjoyed perhaps the most energetic crowd response of the evening with nearly everyone in the park singing and dancing along. 

Even if you’re not a music-geek, there is so much enjoyment to be found in experiencing good, live music outdoors in the heart of a town like Oxford.

“It’s refreshing,” first-year Linney Cadoret said. “There’s just a lot of energy”

If there’s one thing that’s become clear after the Battle of the Bands, it’s that there is always a need for live music. It’s a great way to connect with others, since music is something everyone can enjoy.

“It’s so good to hear live music in Oxford. It’s so rare!” the Guitar Club’s president, Jordan Mtui, a senior who fronts “Bananarchy,” said. “People are so good and you never hear them because they never find the opportunities, so we love putting this on so people can play their music … We just want to make sure that there’s an outlet for everyone to be able to perform, show off their skills and just have fun.”