By Jeremy Thacker
There was a buzz while waiting in line at Velour for the doors to open. We’d already had four great shows this week, and the lineup tonight promised that the fifth night would be a solid show as well. I’m excited to say that they lived up to that promise. The last night of the Battle of the Bands preliminaries showcased four talented groups that really embody the variety you’ll find in the local music scene. Each band felt very distinct from the others and was able to win over the crowd in their own way.
An alt/rock band from South Jordan, Kōmas, started off the night. They’re a relatively young band, and I was really impressed with their talent, but I feel like they played it a little safe during their set. Their songs all kind of ran together, and I think more risks with their melodies would have helped with that a lot. That will come with experience – they’ve only been together for 8 months, after all. They even made a point of pointing out that if they were a fetus they wouldn’t even be born for another month. Their song “Nothing Without You” had some interesting guitar riffs. Their closing song, “Kiss Her All You Want,” seemed to be the crowd’s favorite. There’s a lot of potential here, but ultimately I feel like they played it too safe tonight. I’m excited to see what they do in the future.
The second band of the night, Cactus Tree, is an indie folk band from Logan. They’ve been together for 6 months. They had a lot of fun elements that I haven’t seen from other bands this week, like a harmonica solo during their first song that really drew the crowd in and stopping to tell corny jokes in between their songs (“Does anyone know what the ocean said to the shore? Nothing, he just waved”). The set had a lot of good harmonies between the lead vocalist, Tori Smith, and the backing vocalist/guitarist Abby. There was a clear John Mayer influence during a lot of their set, which they even referenced in their second song, “Girls in John Mayer Songs.” The song is about how the girls that John Mayer sings about must feel. They have a new single, “Sunstone,” which is definitely worth a listen.
The Goodfellas were up next. They seemed to be the most comfortable band on stage and added a lot of theatrics that the crowd loved. The guitarist played a solo behind his head that killed. Man, that guy can shred. My favorite thing about their set was the use of harmonics in their melodies and palm muting to accentuate the rhythm. They branched out a lot more to play a fairly versatile set. One song had a clear funk influence, some were pop rock, all were fun. They’ve got a new album coming out in August that everyone should watch out for.
Good Color closed out the night. They were a bedroom pop band that’s been together for 1 ½ years. I have no clue how to accurately describe these guys, other than saying that it is something you need to experience. Their set was full of beautiful synth and vocal effects. The vocalist dances like Napoleon Dynamite mixed with one of those inflatable tube guys on a used car lot and I LOVED it. It was so much fun. I admire the creative decision to use more reverb and effects but I wish they had toned it down on the vocals. They had a great vocalist and I would have loved to hear more of his natural voice. A couple of their songs ran pretty long too. “Lascaux” was one of my favorites from the set, but it does run seven minutes long. I think they would have benefited more from playing earlier in the night. It’s hard to run a song that long when you’re closing the night and the audience is starting to tire out.
It took a little bit longer than normal to tally up the votes for the winner, but soon enough it was time to open the envelope. Tonight’s winners were The Goodfellas! They’ll join the previous winners from the week in the finals. I’m glad The Goodfellas won – they’ve put in a lot of work to get to where they are and it’s paid off for them. I’m excited to see how they do in the finals tonight.
Velour’s Summer 2022 Battle of the Bands Finals are tonight! Seaslak, Kipper Snack, Psychedelic Purple, Breakfast Biscuit, and The Goodfellas will perform. Doors open at 7:30 PM. While you’re waiting for the show to start, check out “Fall Into Space” by The Goodfellas below.