The Worst Band Won
CU Denver Live! presents Battle of the Bands
CU Denver Live! recently hosted its annual Battle of the Bands, an annual free student event located at some local eatery, this year at the Appaloosa Grill. The prize was an enticing spot in the upcoming 2019 CU Denver Block Party. Featuring four groups with a 30-minute-or-so set each, it was a long, grueling evening.
Anyone who’s been to a battle of the bands of any sort will tell you that you might be lucky to see one enjoyable group among a cast of bright-eyed rock ‘n’ roll amateurs, eager to showcase their high-gain cover of “Black Dog.” This particular version of the event might have risen above the usual mediocrities but was still very much in the spirit.
It must first be said that each performing group presented entirely original material, which must certainly be commended, as apt effort was clearly put into each performance.
One group, Sister Neapolitan, was surely the most professional and refined of the bunch. They served as the gem of the otherwise lackluster showing, as their folksy harmonies and defined aesthetic made for a fun, engaging performance. It was clear that Sister Neapolitan was the only member of the battle that is an actual, real-life band, or at least was able to present themselves that way.
The other performers were unfortunately unable to match the standard set by Sister Neapolitan. Redamancy and Pastel Pink both certainly featured lineups of talented musicians in their own rights but still each delivered ultimately faceless performances.
A constant problem throughout the entire night was that most of the instruments, usually the guitars, were unreasonably loud, such that they often totally smothered the vocals, keys, and bass. Redamancy’s guitarist made the bewildering choice to bring along his half-stack and full pedal board, filling the entire restaurant well beyond a comfortable volume. While CU Denver Live! offered a wide assortment of hats, sunglasses, and other branded knick knacks, they decided not to provide so much as a basket of disposable earplugs for the many disgruntled ears.
Far and away the worst group performing was a pop-punk group called 1000 Miles of Fire. Not only did their music contain every cringey 2000s-era pop-punk cliché in the book, (half-time breakdowns, annoying china cymbals, whiny vocals—you name it), but their volume was totally unbearable. They also completely reaffirmed the main problem with any Battle of the Bands, that it’s just an arbitrary popularity contest. 1000 Miles brought what must surely be their entire 30-person fan base, who were just as obnoxious as the band themselves. This earned them the blue ribbon, despite their excruciating performance. Still, mark your calendars to make sure not to miss them as the highlight performance at the Block Party.
The CU Denver 2019 Battle of the Bands may have had its moments throughout but was overall still a bust. But hey, at least there was free food.