Categories
News

Velour Winter 2022 Battle of the Bands Recap – Night 5

Felt less like a battle of the bands and more like a killer show.

Advertisements

By Richard Provost

It definitely felt like a Friday night when I walked into Velour yesterday. As the audience filed in, and we waited for the music to start, it was clear that – except for someone’s parents sitting in the corner – these people were not just out to support their friend’s band. They were clearly out for the night.

Advertisements

Amidst the excitement of kicking off the weekend, it was easy to spot the happy exhaustion carried by those who have been here all week, as they waited for their 7th wind to push them through night 5 of 6. I should take this chance to thank Corey Fox and everyone at Velour for successfully taking on this Herculean task of putting on 6 shows involving 20 bands in a week. BOTB is always a busy week at Provo Music Magazine, and all we’re doing is talking about it. We’re very grateful to have something to talk about.

MYKAH performing at Velour Live Music Gallery. Photo by Molly McCoy.
Advertisements

MYKAH kicked off the night playing to a crowd of people who were definitely there for them, with even some flying in for the show. MYKAH is the epitome of promise. They have all of the pieces in place, not the least of which is Mikayla herself, who brings an honest delivery, natural stage presence, and great vocals to the table. Having a strong front man/woman/person is invaluable, and MYKAH can rest assured knowing that they have that. They’ve already buttoned up a lot of the issues so many other bands always struggle with – finding an aesthetic, nailing their harmonies, etc. Now they need to focus on the little things that can really take a band to the next level. Make dynamics work for you. Spend time figuring out tones. Especially treat a set like one performance instead of playing a list of songs. While introducing every song with an anecdote or story can be charming in certain settings, it really wasn’t the right choice last night and slowed down the energy of the set.

Still though, I came away very impressed with MYKAH. I hope they have taken advantage of this week to meet a lot of great musicians that they can work with, write with, play with, and learn from. I’m really looking forward to what MYKAH will do over the next few years, and hope to catch them again soon.

Welcome Home Sundance performing at Velour Live Music Gallery. Photo by Molly McCoy.

Welcome Home Sundance impressed me from the very first strum of a heavily effected acoustic guitar. The tone! It was different, and it was purposeful. They followed up with one of the most unique sets I’ve seen in local music in a long time, full of vocal effects, samples, auxiliary percussion sounds, and phones ringing. Yes, the sound of a phone ringing was blasted through Velour’s mains and I liked it. While other bands tried to be overly energetic, Welcome Home Sundance achieved high energy while also feeling effortless. A great example of this is how they encouraged crowd participation. They simply wrote in moments in their performance that people wanted to be a part of. That simple. No need to beg for it.

Advertisements

I think vocals are what cost them the win last night. Lead singer, Jonas, does not have traditionally perfect vocals. But Jonas isn’t trying to be the best singer, he’s performing his songs. Still, one of the categories bands are judged on is vocal performance, and while vocals were good, and harmonies were great, Jonas had the 4th best voice last night. I want to make this very clear: while this may have cost them points on the judges’ scorecards, this in no way negatively impacts the listening experience. Jonas is a good singer.

No Such Animal came on stage to the sound of the crowd chanting their name, which is no small feat considering their five syllable name. Immediately this band commanded everyone’s attention with their take on the late 90’s/early 2000’s. For the first two songs I thought they reminded me of a more likable Green Day. Then they were a hornless The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Then they sounded like Lenny Kravitz. The nostalgia was strong with them, and yet none of it felt unoriginal. It is truly difficult to explain. They won the night with a flawless performance of a dialed in set, and gave me another great reason to go back to the finals. Welcome Home Sundance is the band from last night that I listened to while I wrote this article, but No Such Animal is definitely the band I’m most likely to buy a ticket to go see again.

Sky Olson & The Valley performing at Velour Live Music Gallery. Photo by Molly McCoy.
Advertisements

While the other bands tried to win us over with high energy, Sky Olson & The Valley brought something different. This wasn’t about jumping up and down, this was about head bobbing. The approach to the whole performance was very cool and collected, even handling a small technical difficulty with essentially no loss of momentum. Without a doubt, Sky Olson & The Valley were the most professional band of the night. They looked the part, they sounded the part, the set was tight, the performance was great. There is very little as far as performance goes that I can criticize. Maybe I could say that there were some programming issues, such as introducing the band in the first song before having earned that from the crowd yet, but that would be nitpicking. I really thought they could win, and to be fair the results were very close and the top two bands were seperated only by the crowd vote.

I’ve written this paragraph several times to make it sound exactly how I want it to, and I fear that it’ll still come off as harsh, but I’m willing to be harsh to hopefully help a band that I consider to be on the verge of greatness. While No Such Animal sounded familiar but still unique, that is not the case with Sky Olson & The Valley. One of the reasons that their performance sounds so “right” is because we’ve heard it before. Sky has a great voice, and is a fantastic songwriter – “Broken Time Machine” truly is incredible – so it’s not like he doesn’t have things to say, or isn’t having original ideas. He absolutely is. But one of the most difficult things in music to achieve is to sound like yourself. My hope for Sky Olson & The Valley moving forward is for them to get uncomfortable and experiment. Stop trying to make things sound “right” and go find what makes you different. If they can do this, paired with their proven work ethic, I have no doubt that we’ll see them do great things.

In the end, No Such Animal was announced as the night’s winner.

No Such Animal backstage. Photo by Molly McCoy.

Friday night was a great night of music, and a perfect example of what makes our local scene so special. The battle concludes this evening at as our five finalists put on an incredible finale. Tickets are $10. Catch The What-Nots, Jordan Moyes, Poolhouse, Beeson, and No Such Animal tonight at 7:30 PM.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s