So I went to the Battle of the Bands at Winged Deer Park last night to see Mahto's band, Ralvaden, and some others play. It was quite a fun and entertaining way to spend a thursday evening, I have to say. Hanging out with friends and listening to some live music. Does make me miss playing a band, though (I think i've mentioned that before?). Troy even made it out - hadn't seen him in *forever*.
I was pretty impressed with Ralvaden. I think they've improved quite a bit since I heard them last just a week ago. For their first show *ever*, they were awesome. They had written the two songs they played, which I thought were pretty well-composed for no longer than they've been at it. If they stick with it, they could be very good. In terms of technics, I don't think they were the most talented musicians playing, but they did have a good style and played well I thought. I could tell they've worked hard at it. I loved how Mahto handled the 'interview' that they did with the band after the performance - he really seemed to keep the mc off balance. It was quite amusing.
What kind of surprised me was that the whole event was sponsored by a a 'christian' organization, and there were some plugs for some upcoming 'christian' events, etc. Also, the surprise 'prize' for the winning band was being given the opportunity to open for one of the aforementioned events. A cynical part of me wants attribute the fact that the most overtly 'christian' bands took the top spots to these aspects, but the more benefit-of-the-doubt part of me decides (and hopes) that that was *probably* not the case. I think I would have picked the same 'winner' (based on the judge's proclaimed criteria), though I think I would have flipped places 2 & 3.
I really think that the David Nipper band (who placed 3rd) was really the most musically talented and professional of the lot - though The Verity (who took 1st) was a close second on that score (and a bit better on the stage presence). I suspect it was the fact that their stage presence was a lot more laid-back that cost them a higher slot... ...but, for a group that stylistically reminded me quite a bit of John Mayer, you can't really have the crazy jumping-around that some of the more hardcore/punk bands did. High-energy, high-volume music is easy to dance and jump around with, but mellow stuff takes a different, more subtle and more difficult, kind of expression. The guy was a good song-writer, and *all* of the musicians were very, very good. David, I thought, had good expression and presence, as did the drummer, but the rhythm and base players - for all their talent - just kinda stood there. Still, I would have given them 2nd above the repetitive thrashing (if energetic) of Free The Martyr (though, man, their guitarist could play *wicked* fast).
Pictures are posted in the Gallery. I was mainly there to photograph Ralvaden, but I tried to get a shot or two of everyone. The only one I missed was the Last Minute Band - who happened to play while I was eating dinner. Sadly, I was least impressed with them - probably because they only played cover songs (i'm big on originality)... ...but having only been together for less than a week, they were pretty good. Troy liked them.