Some of the competitors in the Battle of the Bands finals at Rox Club had to ask their parents for a ride to their gig, while others were proud parents themselves. The ages of the participants ranged between fourteen to thirty-six. Top honors went to indie metal band Lidine, whose large contingent of fans made sure they didn’t walk away empty handed. This competition wasn’t just for bragging rights. There was a lot at stake. Lidine’s prizes included studio recording time and the chance to show their material to recording companies in hopes of scoring a record deal.
When I asked Lidine where their interesting name came from, co-lead singer Will explained that most of them had been in “a band called Left In Distraught and we met [the other lead singer] Uneek and she was a solo artist under the name of Is Never Enough and we came up with Lidine which stands for Left In Distraught Is Never Enough.” Uneek brought a more indie-electro sound to the metal band and they fused the two genres perfectly like Oreos and milk. Their set seemed very polished and their crowd interaction really sealed the win for them.
The guys from Mr. Mustache weren’t quite as prepared for the show because they didn’t know they were up first in the lineup. Drummer Chris Johnson had this to say, “We were apparently the opening band, supposed to go on right at 5:00 and at 5:00, I was at home doing my laundry.” He ended up playing the show with just a snare drum, a kick drum and a high hat because he didn’t have time to set up his full kit. Fortunately for him the band pulled it together and did a great set, admired by many in the crowd including a member of Civil Genocide who followed them on stage.
The next act to play was Ellemarr, whose lead singer had an impressive panther-like growl as he screamed into the microphone. It was almost other-worldly but evidently with the help of Strep Throat and cigarettes, you too can sound like Ellemar’s frontman, Travis Nelson. The band did a fast-paced, drum-heavy set led by Nelson’s intense vocals and drummer Sean Wheeler’s lightening fast speed on the drums from behind a black and white mask he wears whenever he plays.
Though Lidine took first place, the band DarkSpade left the crowd with a memorable performance. The very young group of high schoolers has an average age of fifteen though they have the chops of a much more experienced band. Each band that followed gave them a shout out as everyone was impressed with their level of talent. Uneek from Lidine even made sure “the little rockstars from the earlier band” got one of their t-shirts as they tossed them out to the crowd. Team DarkSpade, consisting of family members and their friends, came out in full force to support the group whose own friends couldn’t attend due to the age restrictions. The mother of DarkSpade’s drummer said the boys “practice a lot” at her house and the parents of all the boys assist with selling tickets, setting up and funding equipment purchases. The group balances schoolwork, band practice as well as extracurriculars like school bands and church bands.
The thrash metal band Slyther (pronounced SLY-ther, not slither!) followed DarkSpade, asking the crowd if they “liked it loud and fast.” They entertained the crowd like a veteran band, encouraging crowd participation by holding the microphone out for people to sing along, though they have been together for less than a year. Bassist Jessica Henderson said she met the other band members because she “used to bag their groceries.” I’ve never been to the supermarket for a bassist before but evidently some stores have them in stock.
The final band of the evening was As Yet Unbroken,who took second place as judged by the cheers from the crowd. The lead singer Tim Beck sported a white tuxedo jacket with an ‘80s style ruffled shirt underneath, which classed up the joint a little. Beck was happy to announce that his wife had just given birth earlier this week and hopefully this group can continue to balance the pressures of family life and band life long enough for Beck’s son to one day see his dad’s band in action. Like all the bands who performed at the Rox Battle of the Bands finals, they have a bright future in the Vegas music scene.