by Jeff Niesel
Berea High School’s War Head deserves credit for including saxophone in the mix but its music — a strange prog rock combination of Zappa and Primus —didn’t exactly win over the audience. The hard-rocking Scorch Muffins started their set with a cover of the White Stripes tune “Seven Nation Army” and then segued into a set of alt-rock that often veered toward heavy metal. Led by its exuberant long-haired guitarist, Brush High School’s the Independent played an all-original set that recalled Wolfmother at times. Orange High School’s Evolution 3 played a set of all-original singer-songwriter that showed a debt to guys like John Mayer and Jason Mraz. South Range High School’s No Clue, a finalist from last year’s competition, followed with a hard rock set that included a rowdy rendition of Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World.” After a mid-tempo pop set from Anywhere Avenue, Two Days Until Tomorrow, a six-piece ensemble from Lakeview High School that made last year’s finals, delivered a high energy set of ska/punk that benefited from a three-piece horn section.
In no particular order, three winners — Lethal Synergy, Scorch Muffins and Two Days Until Tomorrow — were announced at the concert’s end and all posed for a photo. They’ll compete again in the “Final Exam,” which takes place on Feb. 9 at House of Blues. You can see the winners get announced here.