The Palace Flophouse Wins!!!
The century-old Waterville Opera House was brought to life last Saturday as four bands competed for the hearts of the local community. What was their incentive? The winner of the competition would have the opportunity to play at next fall's Hill 'n the Ville Music Festival downtown. And of course, bragging rights were up for grabs. Three of the bands were from the College and one was a local group from Gardiner. This Battle of the Bands event was a culmination of the Colby Waterville Alliance's (CWA) sixth annual Burst the Bubble initiative to encourage students to leave the Hill and participate in the larger Waterville community.
"The goals of Burst the Bubble are...to increase awareness that the two communities [the College and downtown Waterville] are not completely separate, but rather one larger community," Emily Cook '11, CWA coordinating president, emphasized.
The first band to take the stage was the Roving Grovers from Colby. Composed entirely of first year students, they wooed the audience with their piece, "End Too Soon." Noah Teachey, Trent Wiseman and Adam Thompson were on guitar, while Ethan Farina-Henry played the drums.
Apart from Wiseman, who is a resident of Taylor, the remaining band mates live in East Quad, the meeting place where they first convened. Wiseman's guitar solo was particularly notable and garnered high praise from listeners. This self-proclaimed "illtastic" band may be relatively new (it boasts 111 fans on Facebook), but they will likely prosper over the course of their remaining three years on the Hill.
Following the Grovers was Chronic Indecision from Gardiner, Maine. Although the band has only been around for a short time, it has already attracted significant local attention in the mid-Maine region. Described as a rock-and-roll cover band whose reportoire ranges from classic rock to more contemporary hits, the band surprised the audience with their performance of new original pieces on stage. Members of the group included Cameron Wheelock on guitar, Mark McKenna on drums, Jeremy Campbell on bass and the band's newest addition, Tom Cook, on guitar and vocals. The group calls its unofficial mentor, Harley Smith of the local band Returnables and Perpetual Motion Machine, their source of inspiration in starting the band. He also served as the instructor to all three original band members when they were first perfecting their musical talents.
Ending the evening were two Colby bands: The Palace Flophouse and the well-known Joint Chiefs. The Palace Flophouse featured Daniel Reeves '10 on guitar and vocals, Nicholas Van Niel '10 on piano and vocals, Eric McDowell '10 on drums and Daniel Austin '10 on bass. The band performed an original song by Van Niel called "Beg, Steal, Borrow" and covers of songs ranging in style from the classic rock sound of The Who to the danceable rhythms of R. Kelly. The band navigated the varied styles extremeley adeptly, and with an affable stage presence.
The Palace Flophouse were followed by the Joint Chiefs, a band that is representative of all years on campus: James O'Brien '12, Jeoffrey Jarnot '10, Gregory Klein '10, Zander Koallick '11 and Carson Brown '13. Zachary Mitchell '11 is also part of the group, but he is currently abroad. The band, which primarily plays blues, rock and jam, were well received by the audience, especially by their Colby fans.
The groups were then critiqued in two categories: musicality and performance. Erik Thomas of the Blue Marble Gallery, Eric Thomas of the Colby Department of Music and Jim of Joe's Smoke Shop were all guest judges. According to Brita Midness '13, a member of CWA and the event's coordinator, the judges evaluated tone, intonation, dynamics, musical selection, stage presence and value of entertainment.
In the end, the The Palace Flophouse emerged victorious. Their self-described "eclectic" style and "stage antics" won over the judges and audience. If you missed their performance, you'll have the opportunity to see The Palace Flophouse again at the Hill 'n the Ville fall show, the prize for Battle of the Bands. However, if you won't be in Waterville then, The Palace Flophouse is playing tonight in LoPo starting at 10 p.m.
Ultimately, the Battle of the Bands proved to be a source of some excellent Saturday evening entertainment and the CWA was content with its success.
"There was a pretty good turn out of people at the event," Midness said. "It was a mixture of Colby students, friends and families of the bands, people from Waterville and the surrounding area. All in all it was a successful and very enjoyable CWA event!"