The third week of Billy and Renee's Battle of the Bands was a very interesting one. It was a night when you could find many of our city's local artists out to watch this round. You had members of Dixie Wrecked, Nameless Society and Brandon Young of Had Enough even came out to support the event. One of the bands scheduled to play the show unfortunately had to cancel and did not leave BAR with time to replace them. But that didn't stop them from bringing other great musicians out to cover the time lost by not having a band play. The whole night kicked off with solo act and local legend Chuk Cooley riling up the crowd and getting them hot for the rest of the acts to feed off of. Chuk plays with such fervor when he takes a stage it was hard to not get excited for what the rest of the night would bring. His lyrics are heartfelt and personal as he's taken many of them from events that have happened throughout his life and skillfully transitioned them into beautiful melodies. Every place Chuk goes he seems to bring a great following who not only come to hear him but also stay to see all the other acts playing. He did a fantastic job as the opening act and the energy that he brought definitely got the crowd at the bar ready to see the two acts they'd be voting on that night.
The first of those two bands was the new age rock and metal band Alterblood. This group was yet another crew that goes with the unique choice of going sans bass. But between the heaviness of the guitar and drums together, it's definitely not an issue that takes anything away from the performance that these guys put on. Ryan Overack absolutely ravages guitar solos and played at what would be considered a finger eviscerating speed. And even while playing at the breakneck pace his technical proficiency and fretwork never suffered as he nailed the guitar during the set. Cory Gordineer held down the impressive drum work during their set as well. His rolls were on point, his transitions seamless and he played superbly considering the difficulty associated with playing drums in a metal band is. And their lead singer Josh Kenny displayed remarkable range with his vocals. His voice really drives the statement the guitar and drums are bringing to the table. Even more stunning was that he never cracked, faltered or lost volume throughout the set. The combination of skill of all members mixed together to bring a hell of a metal set to the stage. After watching them it is no wonder why they share stages with the likes of bands like Gemini Syndrome.
The next band to take the stage was Madcow. Madcow was a treat to witness play. This Tulsa based band gives a breath of life to the rock genre. Their sound felt like what would happen if you melded 60s rock and 60s metal into the perfect combination. And the crowd responded accordingly. You could see everyone grooving along to the bass lines being laid down by Alex. The guitars being manned by Joel and Robert went together flawlessly. Their riffs and hooks induced both dancing and headbanging from the patrons. The drummer Cory also didn't miss a beat the entire set. His impeccable work to deliver the drive that's the lifeblood of any band was extraordinary. The lead singer Cody made his on stage debut during this show as well. But his vocal presence during the set would've made you believe he's played multiple shows. When all of these elements from each performer culminated together, the sound and feel were almost indescribably pleasant to the ear. It really is hard to put a label on exactly what it is they are doing so right. But whatever it is, they are dong a fantastic job at it.
Once Madcow finished up their set and the crowd was piping hot Preston Haze Hodge came in too cool everybody off a little with his soothing songs. Preston is an interesting artist. He has a band, Not in Public, that goes absolutely nuts and balls to the walls every time they get on stage. And yet he can compartmentalize that energy for one act and bring a completely different feeling when he goes solo. His "substance enhanced" tunes were exactly what the crowd and other bands needed after bringing down the house for 2 hours. With his great work on the covers, which included songs from Alice in Chains and Sublime, sprinkled amongst his well written and finely executed originals made a great end to the night.
Having seen Preston several times, it's been a pleasure watching him grow as a musician, pay his dues and see how big of a part of the Tulsa music community he is quickly becoming.
Around midnight, Billy Stark announced that the winner of the night was Alterblood. The pot raised that night was $189, which brings the total for the finals to $683. That plus the $500 worth of recording time is still up for grabs on March 30th. Alterblood will be joining Nameless Society, Dixie Wrecked, and whomever is the winner of the battle on March 23rd in the finals which take place on March 30th. For more information on this event, visit Billy and Renee's Facebook page and give it a Like.