On March 26, the University of Connecticut’s student-run radio station, WHUS Radio, hosted itsthird annual Battle of the Bands. With the Student Union Ballroom as their arena, four bands competed through three rounds judged by music department faculty and the audience. After a close vote, Storrs-based Indie rock band Julie’s House came out on top.
The theme of this year’s concert was prom. Concert attendees were encouraged to dress in their best prom-themed outfits for a night of high school nostalgia.
The first round began with pop, goth-rock group Charter Ghost versus Indie reggae band Sol Gyres. Charter Ghosts’ opening set marked their second live performance as a band. Their punchy, upbeat sound energized the crowd before Sol Gyres took the stage. The second band opened with an original song titled “Unruler.” Sol Gyres group’s chill, Caribbean-inspired Indie sound won the vote of the judges, and they advanced to the third round.
Round two pitted Julie’s House against 5 Heads. Julie’s House lead vocalist Noah Frank, an eighth-semester political science and economics major, and his band performed their original song “Expectations.” Their cover of George Ezra’s hit single “Budapest” was another crowd-pleaser.
Although Julie’s House proved a tough act to follow, 5 Heads came out strong with a unique set. They were the only group to perform a selection of instrumental songs, beginning with an original math rock number and following with a cover of “Midwest Swing,” a popular, gypsy-jazz song by early 20th century guitarist Django Reinhardt. Julie’s House nabbed the round two win and moved on to the finals.
The third and final round commenced after a brief break. Julie’s House took the stage first with a performance that elicited thunderous applause and cheers from the audience. Sol Gyres followed with another indie-reggae original to close the concert.
The first two rounds of Battle of the Bands were judged by UConn Music Department faculty members Jesús Ramos-Kittrell, Stefanie Acevedo and Peter Kaminsky. The audience was able to vote for the night’s overall winner between bands that advanced to round three via an online poll. The audience ultimately crowned Julie’s House the winner of WHUS Radio’s third Battle of the Bands.
This was the first in-person Battle of the Bands Concert since the event’s origination in February 2020. Last year’s concert was conducted virtually with pre-recorded sets and a bracket system to determine the winner.
WHUS Radio staff began scouting for bands to compete back in November. All the bands that performed are connected to the UConn community.
“When reaching out to music groups, we promote on our socials and have them send in an application, which is just a video of them performing,” said WHUS events coordinator Celia Klotzer. “All of the bands required that at least one of their members was a UConn student. So some of these bands are from the surrounding community, but all of them are tied back with UConn.”
To stay up to date on future WHUS Radio events, follow them all their social accounts and tune into 91.7 FM for UConn’s sound alternative.