I love discovering a battle of the bands. As an underappreciated music blogger, I find a lot of great music simply because I’ll go and listen. Sometimes there are terrible bands surrounding the diamonds, but Auburn UPC’s recent battle had a stacked line-up that provided a wildly entertaining evening. Their excellent choice of emcee in Brandon Crocker also helped create a splendid evening (no lame jokes! yes! yes! yes!). All six bands were worth noting, so I’m splitting coverage of Friday’s event into two days.
Just Marked played some modern acoustic pop, heavy on the falsetto. The band played together well, both on originals and on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” I’m not the biggest fan of cajon, but the performance was solid.
Bottle Up and Explode, who I fell in love with a couple weeks ago at Eighth and Rail, were a pleasant surprise in the second slot. They brought their Bishop Allen/Strokes-ian indie-rock/indie-pop to the stage with energy. (The lead guitarist got especially into it.) It’s just really, really fun to watch Bottle Up play — you get to sing along, shimmy a bit and smile tons.
The earthy, rooted sound of Gypsies With Knives graced my ears next. With powerful, clear vocals and great instrumental interplay, the band creates a neat mix between jam-band, southern and shanty rock.