It was a windy spring night, and the Kerrytown Concert House was shaking to its foundation. In early March, eleven local bands clashed for a coveted “third round” berth during the inaugural “Music Madness: A Battle of the Bands.” This event, hosted by Music MATTERS, aims to bring music to students in an exciting, competitive way.
Glasses flew and guitar strings were sacrificed as the bands tried to connect with the audience in a primal fashion. Meanwhile, a panel of judges narrowed the field down to just five bands who would proceed to the next round. Groups were judged based on their stage-presence, originality, technical proficiency, and even their matching pants. The 3-hour long event spanned a variety of genres including rock, blues, metal, pop, folk, EDM, and hip-hop.
This BYOI (Bring your own instrument) event encouraged each band to bring their own unique instruments, making way for a completely different sound as each act took the stage. Although it was a competition, each performer shared insights and feedback with their fellow musicians and words of admiration and mutual appreciation were overheard between the acts.
In a way, Music Madness taps into the same spirit that brought Music MATTERS to life in the first place. Founded “by a group of 10 freshmen in their crummy first year dorms during 2011,” Music MATTERS sponsors music events of all kinds on campus, supporting everything from concerts in Crisler Arena to competitions that give local bands a platform in the community. Recently, Music MATTERS announced that rappers 2Chainz, Lil Yachty, and Desiigner will headline this year’s Springfest concert at Crisler Arena on Friday, April 14th.
The bands that were featured during MUSIC Matters were either from the Ann Arbor area or the greater Detroit area. Among the 11 bands entered, “FLYING”, “KULTURE”, “Shmongo”, “munch” and “Jake LeMond” were chosen to proceed to the next stage.
Highlights of the evening featured the explosive punk sound of FLYING, two singer/songwriter acts, (Mira and Jake LeMond), and especially, the two hip-hop acts (KULTURE and munch). The former resembled the sound of the early 90s’ R&B-influenced hip-hop groups like “A Tribe Called Quest,” while the latter had the gritty and funky rock sound of acts like the “Beastie Boys,” where the singers proved their lyrical flow and groove. Eagles Club, with a new groovy and heavy song from their new-album-in-the-works, also made an appearance. Some of the many acts featured in the show can also be found on music services such as Spotify and Soundcloud.
A special thank you to all 11 acts and to MUSIC Matters for making this show possible.
The second round of the Battle of the Bands presented by Music MATTERS, took place on March 8th at the Kerrytown Concert House. The final round of the knockout stage will be held tomorrow, March 30th, at Club Above. The chosen act will then have the opportunity of performing at the 6th annual Springfest on April 14th.