Recapping Battle of the Bands, part two
    Photography by Natalie Krebs / North by Northwestern.

    In case you missed it, don't forget to check out our coverage of Day 1 of Mayfest Battle of the Bands.

    Rum Lotus opened the second night of Battle of the Bands with a Red Hot Chili Peppers-inspired set — that is, they played two Red Hot Chili Peppers songs. In a row. The frontman was successful in getting some crowd members to sing along to the chorus of “By the Way,” but other efforts to get the audience moving were mostly futile. Compared to the rest of the band (and the audience), the vocalist was insanely energetic, jumping around on stage and hopping onto the floor every once in a while. While some excited audience members appreciated his enthusiasm, other times his energy was too extravagant to actually have a positive effect.

    Next up was Tiny Triangle, a band that started out on a fairly mellow note while still maintaining a loud rock sound. The music wasn’t too energetic, but neither was the crowd (I caught a guy in the front row full-out zoning out for an entire song). However, they seemed happy to be there, and their energy was solid without being over the top. While the audience was still for a lot of the show, the last song got everyone moving when the pajama-bottom-wearing keyboardist led the audience in clapping and the band met the joyful screams of the crowd as they ended their set.

    The Earth is a Man boarded the stage after a Mayfest member announced that everyone should move close enough to the stage so they could “lick the musicians.” For the previous acts, everyone had stayed a good two feet from the front of the stage, creating an awkward barrier between crowd and band. Everyone was glad to move up for the band, and The Earth is a Man was enthusiastic (guitarist Doug Kaplan even shouted various forms of “we love you” to the audience between each song). The instrumental rock band kept the energy level high by playing upbeat songs and urging the audience to clap along often. After their time was up, audience members screamed for an encore. This was the first time in the night where the audience collectively didn’t want the show to end, and they ended up getting the encore (albeit a short, two-minute one) they wanted.

    The last act was Fando, whose softer sound gave the audience a break after The Earth is a Man’s deafening set. Their sound had a tinge of ‘90s rock mixed with Warped Tour alternative. The male vocalist’s voice was younger and louder, whereas the female vocalist had a pretty and somewhat soft voice. They often sang alone, but when they did sing together the result was off-key and a bit jarring. This didn’t matter though when they ended the set with a cover of “Closing Time” from one hit wonder Semisonic. Fando dedicated the song to the seniors out there — most of the crowd seemed to eat it up. Some crowd members draped their arms over each other while others swayed as they sang along.

    The judges deliberated for about 10 minutes after the last set. Second runner-up was Aurelia Trio, the first runner-up Jet Jaguar and The Earth is a Man won, a result that was well received by the remaining audience members.


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