Battle of the Bands puts talent head-to-head


Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Andrea Rojas.

No Rush! performs at the Battle of the Bands, West Haven, Dec. 2, 2022.

Friday night found the German Club packed once again for a killer Music Industry Club (MIC) event. This time, a collection of six campus bands took turns showcasing their musicality in a head-to-head competition against each other.

Logan Dumas, campus’ favorite emcee, broke the news to the crowd that the German Club did in fact prohibit moshing in this space. This was met with roaring disapproval from those in attendance, and when reviewing the acts that they showed up to watch, there’s no surprise that everyone wanted to erupt into chaos in front of the stage.

The first band to take to the stage was Sock Drawer, composed of first-year students. This band kicked off the night with vibes that were classic 2010s punk. Their lead singer, Alyssa Gonzalez, was a total powerhouse, with vocals that were absolutely explosive. This group produced incredibly mature sounds for being so young in the game and clearly did not come out Friday night to be overlooked.

One of the songs that the group performed was called “Polar Sunrise.” They told the audience that the song was written just a few days prior to the performance but you would never be able to tell. The performance of this single was backed by rapidly flashing red lights, which completed the vibes perfectly.

Sock Drawer was very dynamic onstage and started the lineup off strong with energy levels that were through the roof and did not waver once during their set.

Syfon was the second group of the night and they seriously made the walls of the German Club shake like they never have before (so much that if you stepped outside, their performance was still crystal clear).

They brought proper screamo to the lineup in ways you would never expect from a group of college kids. Their ability to juxtapose insane deep vocals with intense, high-pitched screams with seamless transitions in a perfect ratio was masterful, to say the least.

They said they wanted to give the crowd “music to make your f***ing ears bleed,” and they absolutely delivered. Syfon put an even darker spin on sounds that were totally metal; by the end of the set, you definitely felt as if your rib cage was about to shatter while flashes of red danced across your vision as they transitioned to the next set.

Syfon’s lung power was insane and it was hard to tell whether the notes they held were longer than the hair on their heads.

Bands within this genre typically produce music that makes it hard to tell one of their songs apart from the next; it’s very easy for radioactive sounds to all sound the same. However, this group pulled off immense diversity, even in such a short set, that was nothing short of admirable.

They were followed by another band that’s hot out the gate, and it was no surprise that No Rush! was voted in as the crowd favorite of the night. Their charisma was absolutely captivating and they drew in the largest crowd out of any other band who performed.

These guys knew exactly how to target their audience and even said that “we’re gonna kick it back to some early 2000s sh*t.”

They led into their set with a cover of “American Idiot” and later followed with “Sugar, We’re Going Down.”

The drummer in this pop punk boy band really left his mark. First year Matthew Giammanco produced clean and powerful sounds that stood out from every performance of the night.

Vocalist Mike Fioravanti, also a first-year student, carried immense passion behind his performance when he sang.

No Rush! kept it simple, going back to the basics but knew exactly how to radiate good vibes through every set of ears that flooded the space before them.

On the whole, this group smashed their first ever live performance as if they had been going at it for years.

They were followed by Zion’s Blood– a duality that showed the beauty of giving a shared platform to both new groups of performers and properly seasoned veterans.

This group seriously was the full package, with the intricacies of their musicality showing incredible nuance and a wild understanding of the precise type of sound they want to be known for. Even though Zion’s Blood was only formed this semester, its members have clearly worked a long time towards mastering their craft.

They absolutely had the entire room in the palm of their hands and every head within it was shaking hypnotically along with their songs.

Both the vocals and instrumentals of this group were insanely wicked and it was a good thing that the band kept urging the crowd to push closer towards the stage; with the way that they blew the roof off the building, it was better to make sure everyone was accounted for in the space.

The crowd went absolutely feral, and there’s no blaming them when the sounds flooding the German Club displayed such a masterful blend of different genres into their sound. Indie and punk aren’t typically used in combination to describe a single band but there might not be a more accurate way to describe the fusion of vibes that they brought to the scene.

Arguably one of the most captivating things about Zion’s Blood was the high level of interactivity between band members during their set. They clearly feed heavily off of each other’s energy when they perform and it’s contagiously radiant into the audience they attract.

The second-to-last act of the night was duo Total Corner. These two were vibing heavy with themselves and provided a much-needed break from the explosive energy of the rest of the night.

During this set, softer lights were bleeding into each other across the stage. This tie-dye effect provided really nice detailing that enhanced their performance. Total Corner definitely had the most casual vibe of the night and it was a perfect second-to-last act in the lineup.

They even covered a song by Mitski, which created a vibe that totally diverged from every other mainstream cover of the night.

Bob the Weather Cat wrapped up the Battle of the Bands with just as much excitement from the crowd as the first acts of the evening.

They stepped up sporting glow-in-the-dark cat ears on their heads, which was seriously iconic. Their staple sound is raspy and rapidly chaotic in a way that is absolutely perfect, creating a sound that is incredibly distinguishable as their own–they clearly understand the image that they want to create and it is wicked to witness in a live performance.

The lighting was insanely trippy, their vibes were immaculate and you could tell that the trio has the absolute time of their life when they’re onstage.

Bob the Weather Cat even performed their new single dropping on Dec. 9, called “I Wanna Hate You.”

The Battle of the Bands, with much anticipation, was concluded with an announcement of the winners by MIC president and senior music industry student Megan Bodmer. Before announcing the bands who would take home the night’s trophies, she commented on the value of receiving feedback from industry professionals through the scoring commentary from the two judges, who were university professors as well.

Second place was claimed by Zion’s Blood while first place was taken home by Syfon.

This lineup could have very easily torn up a night at the Crunch House before they closed their doors.

The amount of professionalism in these bands stood to show that the University of New Haven is absolutely bursting at the seams with the newest faces that will rise to greatness in the music industry. The artistry that filled the German Club on Friday gave a platform to campus groups that don’t perform as often as the household (or more so dorm-hold) names that everyone recognizes. If the Battle of the Bands proved anything, it would be that no group in West Haven should be underestimated. Talent is growing in just about every corner.