3/12/15 – Berklee Performance Center

Where will you find a boy band, a rapper, and a Scandinavian jazz-folk group performing on the same stage? At Berklee Songwriting Department’s open-genre battle of the bands, of course—the first ever held at the Berklee Performance Center.

The judges, who assessed the acts on audience interaction as well as musicality and performance, were: Bonnie Hayes (Berklee Songwriting Chair), Matt McArthur (The Record Company), Dan Cantor (Notable Productions), Matt Smith (Club Passim), and James Reed (Boston Globe).

At the end of the show, the scores were tallied and the winners were chosen. First place, winning a trip to College Battle of the Bands‘ regional tournament in New York, among other prizes, was high-octane rockers The Rare Ocassions. Second place went to rapper Zaid Tabani who brought his energetic flow into the crowd, running down the aisles while rapping. Soul/R&B group Kyle Thornton & The Company took third place.

With glow sticks waving in the audience like a sea of jellyfish, the battle began.

Full Effect: Synchronized boy-band ninja dance moves; definitely not half effect.

The Rare Occasions: A car chase on a distant cliff, filmed in black and white. The Rare Occasions zoom ahead.

Oh, Malô: Still dark, still furious. But Malô does disco? I’m curious.

Zaid Tabani: He said it was his club song. Does the club have a fire extinguisher?

Arreanna Jaye: Dramatic Scandinavian jazz-folk; scat vs. sax.

Sound Struggle: An orgy of genres—metal, funk, prog. rock; guitarists played more fervently than ants devouring a fallen hot dog.

Kyle Thornton & The Company: A cannonball of blues streaks across the sky and bursts into a blaze.

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