This year’s edition of the Orlandobands.com/Evermore Sound Evermore Battle of the Bands kicked off Tuesday night at The Haven in Orlando. It was a respectable crowd for a Tuesday night show featuring live performances from Orlando bands Succulent Thing, Stereo-Type and Fiery Sushi along with Florida bands Antic, High In Transit and Staring Blind.
Central Florida band Antic got the show under way with their first song “Chickadoodadamanbombalapacandoo,” not a song title that is easily forgotten or remembered correctly to be sure. The five piece band has a versatile sound, a blend of rock, funk and metal as well as a few other influences that have found their way into the band’s music. Their set included the title track from their latest CD, “Murky Water” which starts off with a reggae beat and features two guitar solos, the first one from one guitarist leading into the second guitarist’s solo.
Next up was Orlando band Succulent Thing. The trio, Brett Lewis (guitar, vocals), Johnse Bray (drums) and Allan Rose (bass), played a laid-back set of reggae surf music. The cool vibes from the music had many in the crowd dancing and swaying along to the music. Their recently released CD, “Killing It” was well-represented by several songs including “Stealing Sunshine,” “Boom Boom Room” and their set closer, the energetic retro sounding instrumental “The Surf Song.”
After their set, it was time for another Orlando based band, Stereo-Type. The three piece band’s music is steeped in punk attitude but their boots are firmly planted in hard rock and metal. During the first song, lead vocalist/guitarist Vincent Victor Oath was head banging so hard his hat flew off and his guitar came unplugged, but he kept soldiering on. Their songs ran the gamut from political to hating your day job to cheating girlfriends. One song, “Look,” was written by Oath after his best friend committed suicide. The song was the first one he ever wrote and features a notable vocal range from whispers to all out metal screams.
Panama City band High In Transit hit the stage next. There were several new songs in the band’s set including “We Dream,” “Death and Suffering” and “Guano.” The five piece band’s music rocks hard with a vein of darkness running through most of their songs. The guitar playing from both Matt Johnson and Jordan Dowling was impressive, like the cherry on top of a first-rate full band performance. During the band’s last song, Dowling wove his way through the crowd, guitar and all and popped in to visit the judges.
Next up was Orlando band Fiery Sushi. It wasn’t obvious from their performance, but the band had two fill-in performers, past members Dale New (lead vocals) and Zach Lovelace (bass) joined Carlos Quezada (drums), his brother Finess Quezada (lead guitar) and Mandy Carattini (rhythm guitar, backup vocals) for this show. New’s expressive gestures and passionate vocals highlighted the rest of the band’s energetic performance.
Closing out the show was Melbourne, FL based band Staring Blind. The four piece band played an intense, high-energy set, rocking so hard at one point that their new drummer, Sam Calautti, had a drumstick fly out onto the stage. Lead singer Matt Carver was all over the stage making an effort to connect with everyone in the venue during the band’s performance and probably trying to stay one step ahead of fiery lead guitarist Brandon Carrasco and bassist Willie Carrasco who obviously never got the memo that a bassist should be rooted in place, stoically keeping the beat. Their solid rock set included their songs “Black Arm” and “New Low.” They closed their set with a song they had recorded at Evermore Sound Studios, “Four Stroke Heart.”
After the music it was time for Ben Gardner (Orlandobands.com) and Luke Beaulac (Evermore Sound) to reveal which band would move onto the next round. Antic took third place, Orlando band Fiery Sushi took second place and first place went to Staring Blind. (It’s also possible for the second and/or third place finishers to move up with available wild card slots.)
It was a terrific night of local music in Orlando. Each band had their own style and principal genre of rock music. They all put in winning performances, too bad they all couldn’t take home first place.