Battle of the Bands winners prepare for Bullstock performance

Two winners emerged from this year’s Battle of the Bands, and USF’s own Sick Hot and Taverns are now among the lineup set to perform at this year’s Bullstock.

Bullstock is set to take place on April 5 from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. in Lot 35 at the corner of USF Holly Drive and USF Maple Drive. Food trucks, carnival rides and other activities will be present as well.

The two groups will be performing along with lovelytheband, 3OH!3 and Timeflies at the event hosted by the Campus Activities Board. Both Battle of the Bands winners expressed disbelief and excitement about their upcoming performances.

“Winning Battle of the Bands was a surreal feeling,” Ethan Finchum of Taverns said. “[W]e all fed off the crowd’s energy. Winning only amplified our excitement and we are still so thankful for all those who came to support us.”

“I felt like we finally accomplished something,” Chris Erickson of Sick Hot said.

Sick Hot is comprised of Cory Bernardi on drums, Nik Wilson on the guitar/vocals and Erickson on bass.  They describe their sound as “70s classic rock.”

The band formed when the trio was introduced to each other by their current manager, Jim Chambers. Chambers stuck the three in a room together, knowing their musical interests would align.

Taverns features Gabe Parker as the lead singer, Wei Chen on bass, Finchum on drums and Claudio Da Costa on guitar. Their aesthetic is shaped by an “indie rock” sound accompanied by “beachy melodies.”

Parker and Da Costa were a duo until they decided to seek the help of Chen, who Parker met at a different band’s performance in one of USF’s parking garages. Finchum joined in January to complete the group.

Both bands said they’re used to playing for more intimate crowds, so the upcoming concert will undoubtedly be unlike any other they’ve played before.

Bullstock will also be an opportunity for Sick Hot and Taverns to meet other respected bands who inspire them. AJR was supposed to headline the event, but due to their cancellation, Timeflies is now set to perform instead.

“AJR canceling their performance was a real let down for us,” Chen said.

AJR’s cancellation happened just 4 days prior to the event, and their agency neglected to provide USF with a statement of reason.

“I think it’s pretty disappointing, especially since they were the biggest band on the ticket,” Bernardi said. “I hope that doesn’t affect attendance too much.”

Nonetheless, Sick Hot and Taverns are happy to be performing alongside such popular bands.

“I’m [just] excited to play with these bands — it’s a huge honor,” Wilson said.

Until Bullstock, both bands will be practicing to put on the best show possible.

“We also are releasing our debut single on the morning of BullStock, so we will be sure to market that since it is such a huge milestone for us,” Da Costa said.

Aside from putting together the perfect set list, Sick hot plans to “practice like crazy and work on our stage presence and look,” Bernardi said.

As for their recent success, Parker attributes it to the chemistry shared by the group’s members.

“We are all friends, and being friends first makes the project feel less like a task, and more like a collective project,” Da Costa said.

Wilson said Sick Hot’s win at Battle of the Bands was a product of the band not caring if they won or not and just having a good time.

Both bands definitely proved themselves as musical forces. Their passion for creating music has led them to this point and they each hope to spread the appreciation they share for the art form.

“Music captures emotion from the soul, and combined with lyrics and melodies [it] creates another universe,” Chen said.

Above all else, Parker urges concert-goers to  “cherish those around you and be thankful for what you have. Use music to connect with others and help you through the day.”