It began with 108 local bands battling in fierce competition for the chance to perform at House of Blues for the last spots of I AM Fest 2011 ...a chance to rock the stage along with other acts like Wayland, On Your Marx and Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys. After two months of drama-filled instense battles and too close to call wild card online voting, blogspot readers, it was down to the top five finalists. And believe SouthSide when she says this was one tough finals competition ever witnessed. Plus in all fairness, this reviewer did not vote in this or any of the prior battles because she has seen and/or reviewed many of the bands that entered the competition. She also doesn't like being accused of using her influence. Performances featured a variety of music acts by Sunshine and The Feel Good Nation, Board of Governors, Stoop Goodnoise and Rayisdude with good friends Social Focus opening.
Social Focus laid down the challenge gauntlet to the other bands when they bursted onto the Elbo Room stage like gangbusters rockin' it fierce and hard with their melodic psychedelic/rock sound. SouthSide has seen them perform before but never so intense as they did on Saturday night, blogspot readers. Besides performing As You Like It, Safe Word, and Telephones, Social totally shocked SouthSide with their live vocal performance of her favorite song, Merry Go Down instead performing it as an instrumental break. This band truly brough their "game" face tonight challenging the four others to match the intensity and fierceness they played. Meanwhile Rayisdude brought his one man-band act to the stage next that included a little acoustic and lyrical hiphop/rap. It was a lively mix of pre-recorded rhythms and beats ...as well as good demonstration of his lyrical verse skills. However, this reviewer wasn't truly impressed with this artist and his unique use of "white suburban" rap "...because every white dude think they can rap like Kayne (West)..." according to SouthSide's resident stalker/guitarist of Sutured Psyche, Ryan. Rayisdude had a good performance but for this competition it wasn't enough to meet Social's level of challenge in this reviewer's opinion.
Stoop Goodnoise brought the crowded basement lounge back to life during its performance of instense guitar energy and sound. And like Social Focus, this band definitely had their "game" face on, blogspot readers. Stoop brought to the stage its head-banging, vibrant rock music that included dynamic vocals and instrumentals to soak the ears within the thunderous riffs. SouthSide enjoyed the funky/dance side of Stoop that featured a super-charged energizer bunny groove in Point. Also she recommends listening to You Live, Cloud and Spartacus. Next Board of Governors also stepped up the playing field by rockin' out the Elbo Room basement lounge with some of their hip shakin' and head-banging sound. SouthSide enjoyed the dazzling guitar riffs - so bold and vibrant as well as the raspy falsetto vocals in which her good friend, Matthew Alfano of Mason's Case screamed "...give me Thor..." - the new word for more, blogspot readers, for this year's I AM Fest. This reviewer highly recommends checking out Board of Governors' energized Southern rock vibe even while in a downtempo rhythm. Lastly but not least, Sunshine and The Feel Good Nation rocked out the I AM Fest Battles Finale. Performing such songs like Backyard Song (ska-like sound), Samba (Carlos Santana-like guitar riffs) and Gone Tomorrow (featuring Steve Miller Band's The Joker teaser), SouthSide liked the upbeat rhythms, funky R&B groove and soulful raspy vocals. Yet, it was the instrumental bridges that kept many in a happy place throughout this finale performance, blogspot readers, in many asked for an encore. In this reviewer's opinion, that wasn't truly fair since the other bands weren't given the same opportunity to perform an encore like Sunshine.
Declaring a solid winner was so hard to do, blogspot readers, yet as Brian Bender mentioned - "...everyone in my book are winners tonight...". So who gets the last two spots on the I AM Fest 2011's lineup roster ...plus a two-song inclusion on the I AM Fest compilation CD as well as studio time - first place went to Board of Governors and second place went to Sunshine and The Feel Good Nation, who will be opening the Fest.
Until next time, support your local scene,