Local groups clash at Mac’s Place’s Battle of the Bands

Local musicians and their various musical stylings vied for first place at Mac's Place's Battle of the Bands on Friday Feb. 15. Each band played a 20 minute set in the College Union Ballroom, competing for the $500 cash prize.

The first band up was The Subconscious, comprised of lead singer and guitarist junior Jason Pulisciano, guitarist sophomore Alon Friedman, bassist freshman Mike Gerver and drummer senior Mike Verzillo. 

The Subconscious played four original songs, including “Pit of Darkness” and “Not Meant to Be.” According to Pulisciano, classic rock bands such as The Doors and Led Zeppelin in addition to the hard rock style of AC/DC inspire the band's sound.

Pulisciano and Verzillo lived on the same floor of their building a few years ago and were looking to get a band together when they stumbled upon Friedman, who pulled in Gerver; Friedman and Gerver played together in high school. 

The second featured band was Red Kettle, whose original members met rapper and lyricist sophomore Sankarsh Ramachandra, just one day earlier. It incorporated Ramachandra's freestyle raps into its established rifts, which have an alternative rock/jazz sound.

Red Kettle's line-up featured junior Chris Coffey and Tom Lento on guitar and bass, respectively, and senior Sean Conner on drums.

“We've been around for a year, but this is a new twist,” said Coffey. “We're just making music we like.”

According to Ramachandra, he has been rapping for the past two years, but has improved his skill and style with his producer on campus.

The next band, Drowned Valley, includes lead singer and guitarist junior Rob Rubsam, bassist senior Dan Lynch and drummer junior John Buterbaugh.

Drowned Valley has an experimental style that takes inspiration from punk/indie rock band Titus Andronicus and alternative country music group Uncle Tupelo. Rubsam made a bold and interesting sound by putting his guitar up against one of the amps in their last song, “Extinction.”

The last set featured the indie/folk/jazz inspired band, The Whale & The Warbler. Warbler's line-up includes Lynch again, lead vocalist and guitarist senior Conor McCann, vocalist and violist senior Emily Cirincione, trumpeter junior Steve Rosenzweig, trombonist sophomore Andy Patt, bassist senior Alex DiPaola, and stand-in drummer Andrew Strzepek.

Warbler played three original songs, as well as a cover of Weezer's “Undone - The Sweater Song,” which it transitioned into from its own original song, “Thanksgiving.”

Warbler's dynamic and energetic performance earned them the victory and cash prize.

McCann entered the audience with the microphone, dancing with the crowd to Warbler's upbeat closing tune, “Davy Crockett.” McCann also began banging on a floor tom and crash cymbal placed at the foot of the stage, one of the many aspects that made the band a real crowd pleaser. 

“We're just really appreciative of everyone who came to see us,” McCann said.