By Grant Fry
Velour Live Music Gallery’s Battle of the Bands is a vital component of the Provo music scene. Bands get to network, the competition injects new talent into the scene, and Velour’s careful curation of submissions guarantees that each night is going to be great. Tonight was one of those great nights. Over 200 people showed up. The crowd was very excited to be there and you could feel it in the room. After 2020, people just seemed glad to be able to see live music again and to have this Velour tradition back after so much time away.
Vase Cameo kicked off the entire event. They had good energy. A pop/rock band, they had some electronic vocal effects that added intricate harmonies and dream-like reverb and gave them a sound that set them apart from other bands last night. Their heartfelt lyrics and earnest songwriting felt fresh and real. It didn’t seem like they were just recycling from other songs they’d heard. But if Vase Cameo were to be compared to anyone, they’re like if Lauv decided to form a rock band instead of doing bedroom pop. All this being said, the vocals were still hit or miss. A little more time really dialing in the live vocal delivery with all the effects will help Vase Cameo in the long run. They’re a band to watch out for. Their song “Skeleton” is great.
The next band to take the stage was Homestyle Dinner Rolls, a band with classic rock and punk influences. These guys got the crowd MOVING. They were very high energy. The vocals were a bit rough, but they had amazing guitar solos and overall had a strong performance and great style. These guys probably got the most out of the crowd last night. If you’re reading this, you should listen to their song “Standing By” to get a feel for the kind of energy these guys bring.
The third act, chlöe mae & Jojosiah, brought the energy down quite a bit. A folk/pop act, they had upbeat, cheery melodies and lyrics. They weren’t bad by any means, but their stage presence was slightly stiff and there wasn’t much crowd interaction. The energy stayed pretty flat in the room. With the amount of energy and engagement Homestyle Dinner Rolls brought to the stage, they were a tough act to follow. chlöe mae & Jojosiah do the folk/pop thing really well, and their EP pocket of the woods is worth a listen. But going forward, they need to figure out how to carry energy in their live shows. Songs of theirs like “roaming heart” should be anthemic and huge live, and last night they didn’t quite get there.
With Andrea was the final act of the night. They were very tight and polished musically with a solid vocal performance. In fact, they had two solid vocal performances! Both their frontman and guitarist sang, and both were excellent. With Andrea felt comfortable on stage and you could tell. The energy was just as high as the Homestyle Dinner Rolls set, but overall it was just a better performance.
The crowd buzzed with conversation during a brief break while the judges deliberated. But as soon as it was time to announce the winner, everything got quiet. As the envelope was opened, people started a drum roll on their thighs in the crowd that grew in intensity until With Andrea was announced as the winner. They’ll perform on Saturday, December 11th with the other finalists from this week.
Velour’s Winter 2021 Battle of the Bands returns again tonight! The Sols, Chi Chi Le Mot, Poolhouse, and No Bad Ideas will perform. Doors open at 7:30 PM. You can see the full schedule for the week here. While you’re waiting for the show to start, check out “Can’t Help Myself” by With Andrea below.