Last night was a different kind of night than my usual Remezcla assignment. Instead of having a camera in front of my face, I was armed with pen and paper in hand as my task was to review the Circo Rocktastico Battle of the Bands organized by Ratio Nation. But when I got to Cobra Lounge, our amigos over at Ratio informed me I was going to be a judge as well, along with ChiRemezcla’s very own Senior Editor Adriana Gallardo and our compadres of Enchufate. The winner of this showdown of local bands would get coveted stage time at this Friday’s Circo Rocktastico Tour with Monte Negro, The May Fire and Astra Heights at the Metro.
At around 8:30pm, Sobre was the first band to play, unfortunately for them, the bar was almost empty. Their style of music wasn’t my cup of tea, a bit too much nu-metal for me, but I had to be a fair judge. I would have scored them higher then 2 out of 5 stars if I hadn’t noticed at the very end of the show how the lead singer had been chewing on gum while he was performing (!!!).
When the second band came on, that’s really when this battle turned into a showdown. At first, Echonine had me against them
for taking so long to set up. The band’s DJ brought in his desktop computer to use on stage. Yes, that’s right. I didn’t believe it until I saw it, but there it was. I soon realized that Echonine had a more contemporary sound compared to the rest of the bands playing that night, even if they used that PC to play their New Order and Depeche Mode-esque beats. They also had a pretty big fan base. Throughout the night, most of Cobra went crazy anytime the name Echonine was mentioned. By the middle of their set, they even had two gueras in the crowd dancing in the front.
Expected to top Echonine’s great performance was a band called The Sweeps. They are Midwest hotness x 4. Not only did The Sweeps know how to play their instruments really well, did I mention they were a band of really cute boys? After The Sweeps, the other two of the bands just started to sound too similar to each other, so I had my vote almost ready. These last two bands, Goodbye Satellite and Caoba had sets that felt really long, but in all fairness I did listen to each song and observed their stage presence, two things that were key for the scores. Goodbye Satellite is one of those bands that just overdo everything. They wanted to sound like Bright Eyes, but ended out sounding like Christian Castro crashing on caffeine. Caoba was the last band to play and the lead singer’s Urban Outfitters scarf threw me off for a bit, but they definitely knew how to get the crowd going. The highlight of their performance was a really well done cover of the song “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
After the last band played, the rest of the judges and I were handed cards to write in our pick for which band would go on to Circo Rocktastico. I knew what I was writing down but I noticed other judges taking their time, letting the MC from Ratio Nation sweat under the stage lights as she stalled the excited crowd.
In the end, it had come down to two and Adriana and I agreed that one band had intrigued us both and deserved to play at Friday night’s show. So, as I tried not to make it obvious that we were judges, we wrote down our choices and quietly tried to blend in the audience in case they were not happy with the results.
Echonine won this battle, while the whole desktop computer thing on stage was weird, they had some good tunes and fancy guitar riffs. Hopefully, they will put on just as good a set this Friday.
As for my next assignment….I think I’ll leave my camera at home more, I won’t have to worry about getting it smacked out of my hand by the dancing and moshing kids at concerts.