On Thursday night, the McGee Hall left behind its identity as a place for theatre intermissions and occasional lunches and became home to loud, resonating music. The Battle of the Bands, once an annual tradition, was reinstated as an event to showcase the musical ability of Rockhurst’s most talented bands.
The McGee was packed with people and boasted an excited atmosphere as the first band on the docket began to play: Minor Drive. With louder, more aggressive sounds, Minor Drive provided a high-energy beginning to a night of music. Junior Musicians Henry Nickerson on vocals and guitar, Donovan Richart on drums, and Miles Hogardy on bass made use of dissonant sounds and sharp tones to convey a punk-rock based sound.
After a rhythmic interlude orchestrated by DJ “Yaker Naker,” the show transitioned to lighter tones of Ravén, a solo act. Freshman Symmihn Holloman sat as he picked light melodies on an electric guitar. Ephemeral tones wafted across the McGee as Holloman’s reverb-heavy guitar was accompanied beautifully by his extensive vocal range. The clean tones and intangible quality of Holloman’s music offered the crowd an opportunity to simmer after the high-energy performance of Minor Drive.
Following Ravén was junior band, Santomo. Leading with the Rolling Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Santomo hooked the audience. The steady rhythm of junior Sam Keefe’s drums accompanied the melodic voice of junior Max Stevens perfectly. Lead guitarist, junior David Blank, brought a precise energy to the performance that set Santomo apart from other bands.
In addition to clear musical talent, the members of Santomo offered an essential stage presence that contributed to the overall quality of their performance. Stevens was personable and funny with his band introductions, and the band as a whole seemed approachable. Between Blank playing an electric guitar behind his head and junior Eli Pittman falling on the floor while strumming a guitar, Santomo offered a captivating performance musically and energetically.
After Santomo came the Mac Walsh Trio, a band comprised of drummer Thomas Pribyl, bassist Tommy O’Halloran, and guitarist and singer Mac Walsh. With a softer, alternative sound, Mac Walsh Trio was able to highlight individual talent. Drummer Thomas Pribyl deserves special recognition for his captivating and technically precise performance on drums.
O’Halloran kept the performance high-energy throughout while Walsh delicately guided the music with skillful guitar playing. The band’s final song, a cover originally performed by alternative rock band Cage the Elephant, was among the best performances of the night. With Pribyl’s expertise on drums accompanied by Walsh’s guitar soloing, the song virtually stole the show.
After a short deliberation by the judges, Mac Walsh Trio was declared the winner of the battle.
“The cohesion was spectacular,” judge Mr. Sean Lawlor said of the trio’s performance. “I walked away thinking, ‘I hope they keep playing.’”