By Alessandro Improta
Day one of Velour’s Semi-Annual Battle of the Bands was as varied as one can expect a battle of the bands to be. Audience members got to listen to everything from 90’s rock and post rock to Dave Matthews-esque jams.
The night started off with NED, a six piece band with an acoustic feel that can get rowdy. You definitely can’t accuse them of holding back. NED’s performance was energetic and raw, but they came off the hinges in several places and it severely affected the band’s timing and togetherness. For sure, they were the loosest performance of the night. Some songs didn’t have clear cut offs, with each band member just kind of realizing the song was over and stopping. The songwriting was good, and I could see there being an audience for their kind of music, but the performance needs to be more about the music and artistry than it is about getting a reaction from the audience. A little more attention to detail will go a long way for them.
Next was Kenton, a 90’s inspired power trio. They were very impressive. James McIntyre makes a great frontman. He is simply his ridiculous self and doesn’t try to be anything else. His accessible stage persona put the audience at ease and helped gain their favor. Their songs were filled with catchy hooks and meaningful lyrics. The rock ballad they performed was my favorite for sure. McIntyre’s exposed vocals were powerful and beautiful. I’m excited to see where Kenton goes in the future. I’d like to see them add band members; they were smart in their arrangements with three, and I would love to see what they do with more.
Pändo came third. I was blown away by these guys. You could tell these guys have been playing together for a while. They put on a very tight show. Their songwriting was great and filled with wonderfully nuanced dynamic expression and brilliant melodies. The vocal harmonies were mesmerizing. After their set I was perplexed, trying to figure out why I hadn’t heard them before. Come to find out that before yesterday it had been 605 days since their last show. Honestly, that is a crime to humanity. They’re too good to not be performing.
Indigo Plateau closed out the night. These guys were all about their aesthetic. They came on and decorated the stage with a skeleton, a skull, and an old, small TV plugged in and showing white static. On top of that they had a projector displaying different images that projected across them sideways. This was a really cool look that set the mood for their atmospheric music. I really enjoyed their set. Very smart minimalistic arrangements, filled with heavily effected guitars. Their tone was pretty incredible across the board, with some exception on the bass which at times was a little pointy for the song. Their set was definitely interesting, as they including things like reading poems in between songs. A battle of the bands probably isn’t the best setting for that kind of experience. You don’t really come to these things prepared to immerse yourself in high art. But after the initial shock wore off, I found that I really enjoyed it. They’re definitely worth seeing in concert.
To me it came down to Indigo Plateau and Pändo. They put on the most professional shows of the 4 and were the best songwriters. Because Pändo was a more accessible genre I felt that they would take it, and I was right. This is a well deserved win. Truthfully, they were fantastic, but I would definitely recommend everyone to check out the other bands.
Velour’s Semi-Annual Battle of the Bands continues tonight at 8PM. Come watch as The Mainstream, The Day & Night, Pipes, and Moody Pulp duke it out. Tickets are $7 at the door. Check out some fan footage of last night’s performance of “Cold War” by Pändo (featuring Michael Barrow) below.