Bands battle for Bullstock bill

The usual bustle surrounding the Marshall Student Center was several decibels louder Thursday night.

USF hosted Battle of the Bands Thursday on Crescent Hill, where USF-affiliated bands displayed their talents to fellow students and competed for the opportunity to open for the upcoming Bullstock, a concert featuring Cobra Starship, Jacks Mannequin and 21 Pilots. In its second year, Battle of the Bands drew in student spectators and offered free drinks and pizza to those ready to take in the music.

Aletheia, Scilter, Decaf DNA, ANEW and Variance each took to the stage, demonstrating their own unique musical style. ANEW took home top honors with Variance finishing as runner-up.

Aletheia started the show at 7 p.m. with a distinct rock n roll sound. The band got its name from the Greek word for truth, which lead guitarist Brian Keogh, a senior majoring in creative writing, said is the fundamental basis for the groups message and music.

Were a worship band and Aletheia is the name of our church and were all about finding truth, Keogh said. Believing that truth is subjective and the music that was coming out of that, (it) just made sense to come out under the same banner.

The band also consists of drummer Jonathan Speedy Claxton, frontman and rhythm guitarist Graham Cochrane, and bassist J.R. Mondell.

All members of the towering Scilter reach 6 feet or taller and produce a sound ranging from alternative rock to old-school soul.

We have a hard time describing our overall sound because we play so much different stuff, said lead guitarist Kyle Adams. People ask us what kind of music we play we play Scilter music.

Though technical difficulties interrupted the bands performance of the popular song Forget You by Cee Lo Green, Scilter engaged the audience by getting them to sing along.

Adams said experience from playing at different venues made Scilter prepared to handle anything thrown their way

We play a lot of shows every weekend, he said. We play in bars and clubs, we do a lot of cover stuff playing 50 songs a night and thats basically where we hone our skills.

Decaf DNA was the youngest group to perform, with the bands youngest member a freshman in high school.

Paul Borkowski, who sings and plays the keyboard, said the band formed a year ago and decided to compete because they have played on campus already.

I got an email about (Battle of the Bands) in Note-a-Bull and we happened to be playing on campus that same day for an organization called Nourish International to raise money, he said.

Variance chose its name as a reflection of the music and band. Finishing the night off strong, with high energy, Variance placed second in the competition.

Its a variety of music and differences in ideas and we also have a black guy, an Arabic guy and a white guy, said David Kosinski, a junior majoring in engineering who plays drums and sings. So its different categories we can vary in, the music and outside.

The band has been together for six years and Kosinski said each member takes part in writing music. Adonijah Stevens plays guitar, sings and plays piano, Ali Ahmed plays bass and Brent Halenkamp, a junior majoring in marketing, also sings and plays guitar.

ANEW, a closely knit group of friends from high school, went on to win Battle of the Bands. The crowd went crazy when they took the stage and sang along during the performance. This wasnt the first time ANEW performed for a USF event.

We played at the Homecoming Festival where Chiddy Bang and the Cool Kids performed, said bassist Alex Morency, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering.

They also played at last years Battle of the Bands, but didnt place. Morency said they knew they would do it again this year.

We knew pretty quick about (Battle of the Bands) and we wanted to do it again, we love doing it, he said. I mean, a lot of students came out and its good to see USF really interested in making things fun for students.

ANEW peppered its performance with school spirit, giving shout-outs to the basketball teams recent win and interacting with the crowd jumping and nodding along to the music.

Other band members include Will DeHaan, a sophomore majoring in business, Christian Lisko, a freshman majoring in business, Nick Bernyk, a sophomore majoring in business, and lead singer Ethan Morency, a senior majoring in marketing and finance.

ANEW will open for Bullstock, a concert that Campus Activities Board (CAB) hosts every year, in The Meadows at 7 p.m. April 13. Haley Radeka, the special events director of CAB, said the Battle of the Bands is important for the campus music scene.

I think its a really cool opportunity for bands because they get to open for our big Bullstock concert in the spring, she said. So its an opportunity to get their name out there, to get students to know who they are and everyone in the band has some kind of affiliation with USF.