Although the competition was high, the atmosphere could only be described as chill, as each band took a stand during their set time at Muse Music Cafe Saturday night for Muse’s Battle of the Bands.
The diverse collection of bands in Saturday’s competition were the finalists, having played on separate nights Monday through Friday. With it’s marked up brick walls, cement floor and dim lighting, Muse Music inadvertently set the tone allowing audience members to relax and performing bands to stay hyped during their sets. Peavey amps and harsh red and white lights spotted the stage, creating a space fit for rock and roll.
Drew Bart casually walked on stage, with his band Gerade.
“I’m Drew, this is James, that’s Allen,” Bart said. We’re gonna play some rock and roll now.”
Gerade emanated a Weezer-type influence, although Bart’s specific sound was reminiscent of Green Day before the dark days — albums like “Nimrod” and “Kerplunk.” He was obviously comfortable on stage, joking about how one of his more melancholy tunes was not about a lost love or a friend in need, but about his favorite restaurant, Diamond Grill, closing.
“Oh my love, won’t you wait for me? Bart crooned. “I will hold you and keep you safe.”
Although the audience seemed more laid back during Gerade’s set, their music was simple, upbeat and dance-worthy.
Eidola was the second band to perform and was eventually declared the winner.
Eidola rocks hard and fast, bringing artists such as Gatsby’s American Dream and The Strokes to mind. The cramped acoustics of Muse’s setup are not forgiving, and the crowd was immersed in the loud sound of Andrew Wells’ shiny red Gibson and intense sporadic dance moves.
Although not on stage, Eidola’s lighting specialist was a most entertaining addition to the group, wearing what can only be described as a pseudo witch’s ensemble, complete with hat and artfully torn robes.
Seminole Roots walked away with second place, making the drive from Rexburg, Idaho almost worth it.
Jack and Luke Thomas, twins and founders of the group, said the trip to Provo was less than ideal.
“We had a lot of trouble getting here,” Thomas said. “We had to drive through a blizzard. Our guitarist crashed his car, had to pay for a tow truck, and then locked his keys in his car when he got here. It was an expensive trip for him.”
Seminole Roots created sounds similar to Pinback and Wilco, with fun, summery lyrics that made the weather feel a little warmer.
Jessi Hildebrandt, keyboard and vocals in the competing band Bus People, said her group differed from the rest of the competition.
“We’re an all-girl band,” Hildebrandt said. “We rock hard — with no bassist. We have an experimental, bluesy sound. A combination of Muse and Adele.”
Hildebrandt surprised the crowd by taking a break from her keys and beat boxing for one of the songs. Bus People’s drummer was new as of this week, and had learned all of the songs for the battle the Friday before.
Another crowd favorite, The Lunatic, conjured Badly Drawn Boy and won third place.
While people in Provo complain of nothing to do on the weeknights or weekends, Muse Music Cafe and the bands that perform there continue to rock on, playing to those who know better.