By Stone Ferrell and Tali Schiller
Two minutes into their song and The Console War is in trouble. Will Copps, drummer for the band–not to mention his day jobs as head of Giant and Editor-in-Chief of the Bullet–has just leapt from his seat and, sticks in hand, makes a run for the amplifiers.
In less than a second, the problem is solved and before you know it, The Console War has won fourth place in the Battle of the Bands. Blink, and you’d miss it.
That was the theme of the evening last Friday, as Mary Washington’s best bands battled it out for the title of greatest on campus. At Great Hall that night, Giant Productions kept things moving. With an innovative new two-stage set up, they were able to streamline the whole show.
In the past, the audience had to wait quietly for the next band to set up. Not anymore. This time the new stage arrangements allowed Giant to set up each band as their competitors performed.
While Copps was dealing with his band’s technical difficulties, Sweet Williams and the Redeemers were setting up and getting into place. As the lights on the Console War’s side of Great Hall died down, the ones on the opposite end were brought up, and Sweet Willliams launched into their set.
The highlight of the performance was a satisfying and fun cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together” that set heads bobbing and shouts of “Right now!” running through the crowd. Their tight performance got them to third place, and a $250 gift certificate to Guitar Center.
Later in the night, bands like the Methamphetamines and Fat Cousin and the Unfortunate Wet T-Shirt brought their own unique flavors to the show. Senior Adam Holofcener of Methamphetamines fused guitar with his own computer-based beats and popular hits like “Fergalicious.”
Sophomore Forrest Marquisee’s set was hard to describe, but in the best way. He and featured collaborator Holofcener substituted turn tables for laptops, filling Great Hall with beats and sounds that came off like hip hop in space. They should be recognized for being the most innovative act there.
“I like Methamphetamines–they’re like musical graffiti,” said sophomore Mike Isaacson.
Holofcener made his third appearance that night along side senior Emily Nelson in Baby Perfection. Together the duo entertained the crowd with their funky beats and carefree attitude.
“I knew we weren’t gonna win, so we just came here to have fun,” said Nelson of her performance.
The other bands on the roster must have been listening to Nelson, because each one hit the stage determined to have a good time. New acts and fan favorites alike kept the mood light and the evening fun with great tunes and entertaining antics. Like No Sunlite for the Media jumping into the crowd during a hip hop number.
UMW’s only metal band, Grave-Robbing Extravaganza, brought their distinct fast-paced, action-packed instrumentation to the stage at Great Hall. When guitar players senior Christian Tenney and junior Colin Deyman weren’t busy chasing lightning, lead singer senior Lewis Kopenhafer was working the crowd.
Because of the tight 15-minute time slots, GRE had to condense down some of their best songs. They even sped up their epic “Sperm Whale vs. Giant Squid” to three-times its normal speed. Before they started into it, Kopenhafer got a cheer of “Whale!” and “Squid!” going over the song’s intro.
“My fingers are worn down to nubs!” said Tenney after their set.
It was a bittersweet night for the Extravaganza, as Friday marked their second-to-last performance together as a band, before going on indefinite hiatus. The boys were all smiles, though, and who could blame them? After a solid, slick performance, they took home the second-place award and $500 to spend at Guitar Center.
“It was a great way to finish out our career as a band. We went out with a bang,” said Tenney.
After GRE had finished marching doom through Great Hall, Junk Science took the stage to lighten things up a bit.
Known for their fun, easy sound, Junk Science has built up an adoring fan base at Mary Washington over the years, and Friday night they were out in force. Matt Bradshaw, the harmonica-playing,
trumpet-blowing lead vocalist, took the stage dressed to kill in a full-
on tuxedo. Each song saw another layer come off, until he was back to casual and tipping his top hat, singing “Everybody Celebrate” to a crowd that was more than happy to oblige.
After a solid 15 minutes that set heads nodding and hips moving, Junk Science was rewarded with first place and a grand prize of $1,000 toward Guitar Center and an opening slot on Devil-Goat Day. After their set was over, they’d definitely made a few new fans.
“You can tell they’re having fun,” senior Donna Weber said.
Prizes aside, the best part of Battle of the Bands was seeing the best of Mary Wash’s music community coming out not just for the title, but also just to hear the other acts. All during the show, each band was excited to see who was coming on next.
As Junk Science was mixing things up on stage, the boys in Grave-Robbing Extravaganza were in the front row, nodding their heads in time with the crowd around them.
After four years of filling the rosters for local shows, this year’s winning bands are leaving on top. And if Friday was any indication, it looks like the next four years may be even better.