Music

The Final Countdown

Six of Santa Cruz’s boldest bands brawl in Your Music Magazine’s Battle of the Bands Finals

For three months solid, hordes of local hopefuls have been wailing away at Club Caution, doing their best to out-mojo the next group and nab a spot in Your Music Magazine’s Battle of the Bands Finals. This Friday, the beer will flow and the fur will fly as the Battle’s six finalists square off at The Catalyst. Some of the bands on this year’s roster are … well, a few notches shy of phenomenal, but let’s keep the specifics under wraps, yes? Here’s a look at each of the contenders, in order of number of votes received:

Antidote hearkens back to the days of ’80s makeup metal, when dudes in bands like Sexx, Tuff and Likkity Splitt prowled the Sunset Strip looking like the ladies they were dying to do the Unskinny Bop with. From the aerosol guitar tones and kitten-shredding vocals to the pointy heels, pointier hair and even pointier guitars, this band is a walking, rocking tractor beam for leopard spots and fake boobs. Consider them musical emissaries sent to disable the anti-headbanging muscles of all you too-cool-for-old-school types who have been repressing your inner Garths since rawk went out of style.

The S.C. Addicts are those guys you knew in high school who made life hell for the unhappy soul who passed out at a party. They’re sloppy, they’re puke-in-your-face belligerent and they just don’t give a poke at the proverbial rolling donut. Using the standard-issue four-chord garage pop-punk stencil, they pour their last remaining brain cells into music that sounds like an anti-“Pomp and Circumstance” for anyone who won’t be graduating this year.

True to their name, The Addicts’ fellow mountain-dwellers Undecyded do a drunken stagger from angry thrashing to boppy surf-ska to last-call blues-rock. Not surprising, considering their broad array of influences—along with Santa Cruz’s own Expendables, they cite Jimi Hendrix, Pantera, Dave Matthews, Danzing, Ween, Bob Marley, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and a slew of other bands too diverse to mention. Ogre vocals, an alarming lack of subtlety, power chords that drip like loogies from the amplifiers … is it any wonder the kids love ’em?

Taking a cue from “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” Monsters Are Not Myths have swiped their name from a child’s drawing—in this case, a picture of Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster playing in a band, as rendered by a 7-year-old at a daycare center where guitarist Nick Giordano one worked. Their sound is an emotionally charged form of garage pop-rock—surprisingly serious stuff, considering the endearing sense of humor displayed on the band’s Web site, manm.uugh.com. The lineup—drums, keyboards, guitar and vocals—is a little unorthodox (read: no bass), but what’s good for The Doors is surely good for a burgeoning Santa Cruz rock trio, right?

NothingLeft’s take on modern hard rock doesn’t sound far removed from a lot of what you’ll hear on the radio nowadays—think rage-fueled alt-metal with streaks of pop-punk and a hint of hip-hop crowd-bullying. Throw in a high-energy live presentation and a very real drive to make it to the top, and you’ve got a show designed to bang that head that doesn’t bang.

Morning Theory stands in sharp contrast to its fellow battlers, starting with the fact that its singer is the only battler who isn’t a fellow. The satin-voiced and adorable Chiara Angelicola ought to shine like a flashlight beam in the testosterone fog—which, believe it, will be plenty thick by the time this band hits the stage. Morning Theory is also the only band in the competition that can’t really be called heavy—its mix of pop, rock, funk, Latin and reggae is danceable, but moshing is not recommended.

Your Music Magazine’s Battle of the Bands Finals begin at 8 p.m. Friday, May 26th at The Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Ages 16+. For more information, call 423-1336.

Contributor at Good Times |

Damon Orion is a Santa Cruz-based freelance journalist whose work has appeared in such publications as Revolver, Spirituality & Health, Guitar World, Dark Beauty and High Times. He served as Good Times’ music and events editor from 2003 to 2007. In 2011, his article Hitting the Spot won a California Newspaper Association Award for Best Writing. An overview of his work can be found here.

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