Friday, April 27, 2012

The OU Society of Professional Journalists presents: Battle of the Bands / April 26, 2012 / The Union

By: Nadia Kurtz, Staff Writer
Photos By: Nadia Kurtz

Tonight at The Union, a little friendly competition was in the air.   The local bar was hosting a Battle of the Bands between Ohio University’s own Friends In Distraction and The Lost Boys.  The two bands have totally different styles, but they both kept the audience rocking until the end.

The Lost Boys dominated the first act, opening with a beautiful “Amazing Grace” cover played by Ben Leeson on the accordion.  When Mitchell Toler and Kyle Stansell joined in singing in perfect harmony, you know the show is about to be good.

The band of Ohio University freshmen formed only last quarter.  Since then the multi-talented musicians have put together an impressive repertoire of original songs along with a number of well-arranged covers.  The band has been seen at The Front Room and Donkey Coffee and performed their first official show last Friday alongside none other but tonight’s competition.

After their impressive opening, things began to go slightly awry.  The sound was muffled and the microphones were screaming.  As cringe-worthy as it was at first, The Lost Boys  easily masked the awful sound with their upbeat tunes.  Mitch gets the crowd moving with his original “My Hearse” while Ben is on the keyboard and Kyle joins in on the chorus with his signature falsetto.

Kyle then performs his only original of the show as front-man while Mitch comes in with his sporadic guitar solos and jumping all over the stage as usual.

Next, we begin to see some variety.  Kyle moves to the back on the cajon drum and sings background harmonies while Ben takes the front.  His husky yet melodic voice hushes the crowd with his original, “Noise.”  Then the band goes into some of their catchier songs and gets the crowd clapping along to “Redundant Days” and “My Confusion.”  At this point, Ben is on the ukelele which adds a tinkling melodic effect.  Kyle then comes in on the accordion for their second to last song, “Crumbling.”  This song slows things down a bit.

It does not last long, however, as The Lost Boys close their set with the crowd-favorite, a cover of “Shout.”  By the end of their act, the band has the crowd dancing and screaming the words to the song.  The Lost Boys were definitely a hit.

Next up was a slightly different band both musically and content-wise.  Friends In Distraction are folksy, crazy, and somewhat obscene lyrically.  But who doesn’t like a band with a rebellious side?

The three-member band has been playing together since last quarter as well, with sophomore Dan Baker as their frontman, freshman Garrett Hood on lead guitar and freshman Dylan Sams on the djembe drum.

The band starts off their performance with an upbeat cover of “Your Gonna Go Far Kid” originally by The Offspring.  The start to act two is quite shaky as the sound is back to being awful and you can hardly hear Dan singing.  The trio, or rather Dan, puts on quite a show, however, as he runs all over the stage like a mad-man.

The band is pretty much a combination of folk and rock and are continually upbeat.  Dan goes into an original called “1993,” the sound is adjusted, and then they're rolling with Dylan going to town on the djembe.  They reel in the crowd with some audience participation, and then transition into a lengthy ballad called “Nester.”

Then the band plays a song called “Caked.”  If you have been to Front Room for open mic night, I guarantee you have heard this song.  Dan invites anyone who knows the lyrics to the stage and the crowd goes nuts.

The next song is quite different.  Dan switches over to a midi controller and Garrett takes the mic.  Next is a cover of “Oh, Comely” by Neutral Milk Hotel, which slows down the overall pace of the show.

The mic goes back to Dan as he invites a childhood friend to the stage and sings about his hometown, New Jersey, in an original called “Colonia.”  The band closes the show while the crowd is clapping along and obviously wanting more.  Unfortunately though, the show is over and a decision must be made.

It was difficult at that point to come up with a winner.  The show had been pretty consistent as far as excitement from the audience went.  Both bands were totally different in style but really revved up the mood and had a lot of versatility.  As both bands and the audience anxiously awaited the announcement which band would win the five hours of free studio time (which is the winning prize), the verdict came: and the winners are The Lost Boys!

The crowd went wild, of course, including Friends In Distraction.  The Lost Boys graciously took their award and offered to split the five hours between the two bands.  I think it is safe to say the night was a success.

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