Before the battle had even started, members of the Boulder band Fast Cash, seemed wary to perform. Robert Collins, 18, a freshman open-option major and singer of the traditional bluegrass band confessed he had the jitters.
“I’m excited, but definitely nervous,” Collins said.
With eleven bands performing on Friday night and a ballroom packed with people eager to hear new music, being nervous was something every musician had to deal with.
After an opening set by the band Domecube, an electronic band which mixed jazz fusion and death metal screams into their set, scattered applause became the only thing coming from the confused and stagnant crowd.
As the night progressed, both the crowd and the bands seemed to liven up. Trickster’s Will, a bluesy ska band from Denver, had managed to get the crowd dancing with the song “Old Souls”.
“It’s a gypsy tune, so if you can’t find a rhythm, you’re [expletive] deaf,” said lead singer Dan Williams.
Many bands stood out to the crowd, which consisted of students and non-students alike. Nathaniel Burns, a 24-year-old sophomore psychology major, thought the Colombian reggae of the band Quilombo was the best act of the night.
“They’re really innovative in their approach, and the way they combine styles is really unique,” Burns said.
With upbeat Spanish rap, smooth beats, and a beautifully blaring saxophone, Quilombo was a major contender in the battle to be number one.
While the majority of the crowd seemed to be having fun, hands waving in the air to songs and even participating in improvisation routines put on by members of the comedy group Left Right Tim during intermissions, not everyone enjoyed themselves.
“It’s not really my thing,” said Livia Kingan, 22. “I like that it’s free, but I’m not interested in most of these bands.”
One band Kingan was interested in was Air Dubai, a Denver hip-hop band which combined smart lyrics with fast jazz, electrifying and taking command of a dedicated crowd.
Fast Cash, made up of only three members, mesmerized the crowd with simplistic yet masterful bluegrass songs, an all acoustic performance which had the crowd clapping and stomping their feet in the way only country bluegrass can. A humbled Robert Collins took to the stage later that night to claim third place in Battle of the Bands.
The upbeat tempos and smooth transitions gave Quilombo second place.
When Air Dubai’s name was called for first place, winning Battle of the Bands, the now dispersed crowd still maintained their enthusiasm, screaming and clapping when members of the jazzy hip-hop band took to the stage.
Three and a half hours of performances had left the crowd in the Glen Miller Ballroom exhausted, but happy.
“I think that win or lose, this is really great exposure for bands,” said Sarah Ingerman, 24.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sebastian Murdock at Sebastian.Murdock@colorado.edu.