Battle of the Bands Finals
Thursday, Sept. 29
It's been easy to be pessimistic about the Patio's Battle of the Bands this year. Between the breakup of The Malcontents and America Owns The Moon, and the absence of perennial frontrunners like The Shivers, The Common or Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, the battle has lost some of its luster. All doubts about the quality of the talent pool evaporated as soon as the first riff cut through Thursday night's sold-out crowd at the Vogue.
When the night was over, relative newbies Stereo Deluxe were the holders of a $10,000 check and many other prizes. They dished out a set that was as tight and smart as their black and white neo-mod attire.
Their songs had a wonderful pop-centric quality, made stronger by a lead singer with the vocal skills to take them to regional or perhaps even national prominence. To describe their sound with comparisons to other alt-rock bands would be a disservice, as their greatest strength lays in their ability to sound original and still maintain their pop sensibility.
Mantis opened the night and set the bar pretty high with an energetic set of Southern-tinged, stoner metal that was hard, fast and relentless enough to cement their second place finish. Despite having the worst slot of the night, they had no trouble filling the dance floor in front of the stage, even at that early hour.
A third-place finish from Jenn Cristy was a testament to just how wonderfully talented she is. Despite playing to a room full of music fans with a bias toward "white-boy" rock, she wowed the crowd with soaring vocals that were equal parts soulful and danceable.
Great sets from Shadeland and Emerson Rose were only enough to place fourth and fifth.
Rounding out the sixth and seventh slots were Rebuilt and The Nancy School.
The sixth place finish by The Nancy School was probably the biggest surprise of the night. With such standout performances from so many dark horse acts, maybe momentum was against them by the time they mounted the stage at 12:30 a.m.
Rebuilt's originality and the risk-taking in their songwriting is evident. They will only get better. Influences on their sound range from War and Eric Burdon to G-Love and Trik Turner. They were all over the place musically.
All in all it was a noteworthy Battle final. Originally marked for the absence of so many of local music's heavy hitters, now it will be remembered as the night heretofore unknowns like Stereo Deluxe, Emerson Rose and Jenn Cristy became musical powerhouses in Indianapolis.
Stereo Deluxe, 3,422 points
Mantis, 3,039 points
Jenn Cristy, 2,548 points
Emerson Rose, 2,248 points
Shadeland, 2,199 points
The Nancy School, 1,966 points
Rebuilt, 918 points