Battle of the Bands

Pictured above from left to right is geography major senior Peter Scilla and geography major senior Anthony “AJ” Giaccio who are part of the band Prunee. Prunee was one of the seven bands that performed at Geneseo Campus Activites Board’s Battle of the Bands on Thursday April 12 in the MacVittie College Union ballroom.  (Izzy Graziano/Knights’ Life Editor)

The MacVittie College Union ballroom transformed into a concert venue on the night of Thursday April 5 as seven talented bands and musicians showcased their skills to the Geneseo community in Geneseo Campus Activities Board’s annual Battle of the Bands.

Orchestrated by GCAB Valley Entertainment senior Leila Sedigh, Battle of the Bands is both a performance to promote on-campus musical groups and a competition for those groups to win prize money of $500. After each band’s 10 minute set, the student audience voted for their favorite ensemble, choosing Lobster Bisque as the winner.

Lobster Bisque is comprised of bassist senior Noah Weiss, trumpeter sophomore Joseph DiGiorgio, drummer sophomore James Canning, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter senior Steven Sicari and lead guitarist and backup vocalist senior Kazmira Pitzrick. Producing a combination of many genres, Lobster Bisque’s music can best be described as “rock fusion,” according to Sicari.

The group sang two original songs—“Pipeline” and “Tower Man”—as well as two covers to end the show. The band was surprised, yet honored to have won the competition, according to Sicari.

“It was pretty flattering honestly. I was surprised that we won,” Sicari said. “It was cool to see people who didn’t have any personal connection to us, but after we played by the end our set really liked our music. I did not expect that.” 

Weiss also reflected on winning the competition in relation to the beginning of the band’s musical collaboration, when it was just him and Sicari.

“It was really satisfying to hear that we finally put the sweet spot with [the type of music we wanted to play],” Weiss said. “Like stuff that people wanted to hear, but stuff that we enjoyed playing too.”

Although the majority of the band are graduating seniors, Lobster Bisque still hopes to keep the legacy of their music alive.

“The goal of this was to sort of inscribe something a little different, very energetic to the music scene at Geneseo,” Sicari said. 

To start off the night, jazz group The Combo Plate played three songs, one of them being Frank Sinatra’s “The Girl from Ipanema.” Members of The Combo Plate include DiGiorgio, Weiss, chemistry major junior Cody Esposito, history major sophomore Lucas Smith, English major freshman Ben Michalak, applied mathematics major sophomore Peter Jespersen and undeclared major freshman Brian Vargas.

DiGiorgio was excited to showcase the jazz genre to the campus community through The Combo Plate’s performance. After The Combo Plate, history major sophomore Toby Youngman, who describes his genre as acoustic rock, performed. Youngman sang mainly rock-and-roll covers with his acoustic guitar.

Beachcraft played their music after Youngman. The group members, all of whom were brothers of Alpha Chi Rho fraternity, describe themselves as indie and alternative-rock. One song they sang was a cover of The Beatles’s “Come Together.” 

Following Beachcraft was the indie-rock and bedroom pop band Straw Hat, which sang three original songs. Straw Hat’s members include drummer sophomore Marty Benzinger, guitarist and student at Monroe Community College Noah Elias and bassist and vocalist senior Jennifer Bender. 

Bumpin’ Uglies played next. The band describes their style as a combination of jazz and funk.

Prunee, an alternative band, consists of guitarist senior Anthony “AJ” Giaccio and bassist senior Peter Scilla. Their sound was mainly mellow with a couple of jokes here and there.

Regardless of who won, it was important that there was a place on-campus where students were able to appreciate their talented peers, according to Sedigh.

“My main thing of doing this event is to just give a platform for these bands to perform because a lot of spaces on-campus aren’t necessarily equipped for [it],” Sedigh said. 

Providing the performing arts with more of a focus is similar to what GCAB Chair junior Julia Sisti wants to do.

“I think it just gives the music community an outlet to perform, especially on this campus where the arts are not supported,” Sisti said. “I think GCAB, in many roles other than just Valley, gives students a way to have that music experience.” 

The other main rationale for the event was simply for all Geneseo students to enjoy themselves, according to Sedigh.

“I hope that everyone who performed got a lot out of the experience,” Sedigh said. “I hope everyone who came enjoyed themselves. The spring semester is a super busy time, so even taking an hour out of their time to kind of relax and enjoy some music, eat some food, I’m glad I could help out with that. I hope it was worth it for everyone.”