Sun. Jan 16th, 2022

This year, West Chester University ʼs OMG 1000 Battle of the Bands, sponsored by our very own WCUR 91.7 FM, was a huge success. It took place on Thursday, March 31 in Sykes Student Unionʼs ballrooms. With a hearty and diverse crowd, each and every band was able to play to their heartsʼ content and get a positive response from the crowd peering up at them. There was one downside to the night, though. Due to an unfortunate family incident, Overise, who was scheduled to perform, was unable to attend. Our deepest sympthathies go out to Overise and their relatives during this unfortunate time. On the bright side, a new band called Portable Folk Band was ready and willing to play so that there could still be a battle to be won. The show must go on! With three knowledgeable judges at hand, the pressure began to build as the first band, Arms of Orion, took the stage. Arms of Orion hails from West Chester and therefore knew quite a few people in attendance.

Those the band werenʼt acquaintances with, were wonover. With an energetic frontman and a front row of fans singing along to every word, Arms of Orion wasnʼt worried about this competition. Confidence was the name of their game, but would it play in their favor? Arms of Orion met your typical “posthardcore meets Male vocals” but was still able to exert quite a force onto the crowd. There were technical difficulties concerning the singerʼs microphone, but, like a true professional, he sang on as if there were no problem at all. They had very strong crowd interaction, and were definitely a great start and an awesome contender. The funk-a-delic sounds of Back of the Bus were up next. Back of the Bus had a huge following at this showdown, probablythe biggest of all four bands.

But did that mean they had the win in the bag? It was too soon to tell. They were very creative with pre-show advertising and created quite a hype. Their first song instantly reminded me of The Fugees with their mixed male and female vocals and smooth, steady beat. I overheard one student proclaim, “This makes me want to dance!” She couldnʼt have put it any better. You could feel the bass pounding in your chest and this jam band was serious about getting down. They were a definite crowd pleaser with their multi-cultural approach to music. It really brought diversity to this battle of the bands competition. Number three on the menu was the life-saving band, Portable Folk Band, which suited up last minute. They didnʼt have many fans already there, but they had no trouble making some by the end of their set. Portable Folk Band may be new to WCU, but that didnʼt automatically kick them out of the competition.

They were very interesting to listen to and watch. I swore I could hear some Flaming Lips or Pixies influences, especially when the one singer would randomly scream. I liked it and I found it be a nice touch. Also, they used humor inbetween songs due to the fact that they werenʼt familiar with anyone there, and I think it made them feel more comfortable to joke about it. It definitely turned the crowd to take a liking to them. But what would the judges think? Last, but certainly not least,
was the indie-rockerʼs band ofchoice, Jonathan Heathcote. With a more than electrifying introduction by Matt Connell, this rock ʻnʼroll band was ready to strut their stuff. Opening with a cover of Joy Division ʼs “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was something I wasnʼt expecting but completely adored. Jonathan Heathcote offered slow and sweet vocals backed by a toetapping beat that left the crowd with nothing to do but sway their shoulders and shake their hips.

They were really fun to watch and I had difficulty attempting to compare Jonathan Heathcote with any other band. They were really unique, and I enjoyed their set a lot, especially because of the amazing cover of “Where Is My Mind?” by the Pixies as a closer. Student voting began around 10:15 after Jonathan Heathcote, and it didnʼt take long for the judges to put in their submission. $1,000 was at stake: Who would take it home? After about fifteen minutes of anticipation, the winner was announced: Back of the Bus. WCU applauds Back of the Bus on their victory and also sends a big thanks to everyone who came out to support these local bands. It was an awesome night, all made possible by the students!

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