Dance Marathon announced on Thursday that Jet Jaguar won the annual Battle of the Bands and will be performing during Dance Marathon next weekend.
The battle took place at Nevin's Pub on Thursday night. The other bands included Almost All-Purpose, Damn Straight and The Indecisive. Proceeds from the event, which had a $5 cover charge, will go to this year's beneficiaries, the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation for childhood cancer and the Evanston Community Foundation.
The night started out with humble attendance and some friends of friends milling around. The Battle of the Bands, hosted by the DM emcees, Communication junior Ashley Thompson and Communication senior Ned Baker, soon turned into a night of dancing and heavy moshing as attendance filled the small pub to the full capacity at about 100 people by the end of the night.
"Battle of the Bands is one of our favorite traditions," said DM Public Relations Co-Chair Maura Brannigan, a Medill senior. "It's our final push to generate momentum among dancers and among the Northwestern community for Dance Marathon."
The event's three judges were A&O Chairman Chase Jackson, a Weinberg senior; last year's winner whysowhite member Dave Sumberg, a Bienen senior; and Bienen Music Studies lecturer Rebecca Bennett. Audience donation in honor of specific bands, with funds going to benefit the beneficiaries, also contributed to the final decision of the winner.
The Indecisive, a four-member rock outfit, started the night off with driving, straightforward alt-rock. The tight and put-together act had all sorts of innovative curveballs to throw at the audience, including finger-tapping guitar licks, short and tidy guitar solos and even a cut with a swing-inspired beat that had some couples twirling below the stage. This was the last time the group performed as The Indecisive, as the band will be performing as the Broadstreet Cleaners in the future.
Next up was Damn Straight, the female rap duo consisting of Medill junior Emilia Barrosse and Communication junior Mori Einsidler. The pair, a.k.a. Small Fry and SloMo, respectively, took the stage with authority, clad in shades with mics in hand. A riled up crowd welcomed their set. With songs like "Grammar Rap" and "Haterz Hate," it's hard to tell how serious the duo is really being. Regardless, as the only hip-hop act, they got the crowd bouncing to the crunk-punchy beats with a sea of middle fingers raised high in the air.
Almost All-Purpose, a jazz/rock/pop five-piece, took the stage next and pumped up the crowd again with blues-influenced, roots-driven rock. With original songs as well as covers like the Power Rangers theme, the group brought on more cheers, if only for the glamorously-dressed male guitarist in sparkly pink spandex. While the crowd didn't react as wildly as they had during Damn Straight's set (it's hard to beat a reaction to "When I drop a beat / you get an erection"), Almost All-Purpose kept the crowd going and ended on a high note with a sing-a-long-worthy cover of "Go Your Own Way."
Jet Jaguar closed off the night on a crazy mosh fest. As the crowd got slightly impatient as the band waited for the singer, Communication senior Kasey Huizinga, who was running over from Spring Awakening, chanting of "Jaguar" ensued. The power-punk quintet immediately assumed power stances as they started their set off with original song "If You Want Me To," followed by a cover of the Misfits' "Last Caress." Another cover of Patti Smith's cover of Them's "Gloria" had the audience shouting along in the energetic chorus. The highlight of the set was Jet Jaguar's rendition of Willow Smith's infamous "Whip My Hair." "This next song is going to require full audience participation," warned Huizinga. Indeed, the entire room became a blur of hair as the band led a raucous mosh pit with fist pumping and furious guitar shredding.
At the end of the night, when Thompson and Baker finally announced Jet Jaguar as the winner of Battle of the Bands, the sweaty crowd erupted in celebration.
Disclaimer: All of the members of Jet Jaguar except for singer Kasey Huizinga have been affiliated with North by Northwestern in some capacity.