By Katie Ebel
After President Loh announced this university would be closed Tuesday, the second round of SEE’s Battle of the Bands was cancelled, creating one night of competition for the six bands. The Radiographers won the faceoff March 13 and are set to open this year’s Art Attack.
Elie and the Bears kicked off the night in Stamp’s Baltimore Room with their renditions of popular songs like Drake’s “One Dance.” Their soulful pop music engaged the crowd as they were encouraged to clap along to the beat.
The Radiographers performed next, making it their third consecutive performance in this university’s Battle of the Bands. Each song focused on a different aspect of feeling isolated and life not exactly going the right way sometimes.
Lead singer Mike Houser introduced their second song by saying it was near and dear to his heart. Lyrics like “dopamine, won’t you please, won’t you please just come back to me” silenced the crowd and referenced a friend of Houser’s who was recently addicted to seven substances.
“I think all of the bands have different things that made them stick out,” said sophomore piano performance major Sienna Marie Tabron. “With the Radiographers specifically, Mike’s energy was really great. I also liked the Humbalayas. Their instrumentation is really great.”
Backed by overcast skies and light snow fall, Houser said it’s all “peace and love” before the four-piece band belted out their fourth and final song. Their indie-rock sound was made a little funkier with the addition of a synth and dancing from the members.
“The first year [we performed], I was a wee sophomore playing acoustic guitar and singing boy-band type songs, and we’ve evolved a lot by adding a lot of instruments to the playing field,” said Houser, a senior mechanical engineering major. “The synthesizer, we’ve been trying to experimenting with different textures. We’ve been working really hard, going on a few tours and recording albums so we’ve been doing a lot of work here and it’s finally payed off.”
The crowd thickened as The Mild Animals took the stage to perform their four pop-punk, indie-rock songs. Despite this being the band’s first performance as a group, the five members were greeted with loud cheers from the audience.
“Punk rock is all about being uncomfortable, and I am. I hope you all are, too,” said lead singer Andrew Johnston after the band performed songs about the complexities of growing up and how awkward it can all be.
Lyrics like “I’ve never hated myself as much as here and now. I’ve never wanted something as much as you here and now” exemplified the uncertainty of coming of age.
Rent Party, composed of four members wearing leather jackets to match their all-black aesthetic, performed next. The heavy drums and occasional guitar solos exuded rock n’ roll while lyrics like “all alone at a crossroads, I’m getting ready to sell my soul to the devil” captivated the audience.
Humbalaya, a seven-piece funk band, opened with “mother nature threw us a bit of a curve ball today, and we’re gonna throw it right back,” before diving into their jammy music. Decked out in top hats, pirate hats, suits, sunglasses and even a leopard-print over coat, the band put on a good show. Each member’s passion for their instrument was evident in their effortless, yet skilful, playing.
“I liked [the Humbalaya’s] aesthetic the most, that’s the kind of music I listen,” said freshman bioengineering major Anushka Gerald. “People are enthusiastic, it’s a fun atmosphere.”
Almost every member of the crowd clapped along or bopped their heads to the percussion solos. While the first three songs had minimal lyrics, the third song was sung by guitarist and vocalist Sam Cook, who belted out a jazzy love song.
The final performer, Hunter Smith, was accompanied by two acoustic guitars and sang pop love songs to a packed room of cheering fans. Lyrics like “you can’t see, but oh in the end with you I’ll be home” grabbed the audience’s attention and made them sway to the beat.
“It’s really great for everyone to just come together and enjoy music together,” Tabron said.
The acts were followed by five minutes of online voting and deliberation between the five judges composed of two SEE directors, two WUMC representatives and an employee from Milkboy ArtHouse. WUMC helped sponsor the event.
Elie and the Bears won third place and Rent Party took home second.
“I’m really excited for the chance to play for so many people, that just seems really great, like a lot of people who probably don’t know us,” said bassist and music education major Drew Walker. “It’s just going to be a great experience, there’s nothing negative about it.”
Catch the Radiographer’s performance opening at Art Attack May 5 at the Maryland Stadium.
Featured Photo Credit: Devin Ganey, lead guitar and vocals and Mike Houser, rhythm guitar and vocals, of The Radiographers performing at Battle of the Bands in the Baltimore Room of Stamp in 2016’s Battle of the Bands. (Cassie Osvatics/Bloc Reporter)
Katie Ebel is a junior English major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.