With most so-called Battle of the Bands, you get a motley mix of talentless acts. More often than not, the entrees are pimple-faced kids who haven’t played a gig outside of their parents’ basement. That certainly wasn’t the case at Brothers Lounge Thursday night as three very sharp bands kicked off the event that will take place every Thursday night until the end of May.
Along with former Scene clubs editor Cris Glaser and Sun newspapers columnist Peanuts, I was enlisted as a judge. First up was the unfortunately named Lackluster, a Columbus trio with a powerhouse lead singer who often sounded like Eddie Vedder. The band had prog rock tendencies but kept them in check throughout a tight, well-received 45-minute set. Next up was Akron singer-songwriter Zach (pictured). With his band in tow, the hippie dippy singer-guitarist played a number of songs from an album that’s due out later this month. A seasoned performer, Zach worked the crowd like a pro and even had a few patrons up and off their bar stools and dancing to his memorable tunes. Ashes, another Akron act, came up next. Accompanied by a cellist and a stand-up bassist, the band’s moody music had just enough energy to keep from becoming pretentious and the group got a rapturous response from the audience, which was undoubtedly stocked with friends and acquaintances.
Though one judge (Peanuts, you know who you are) thought the contest ended in a tie between Zach and Ashes, Ashes ended up winning Week One. I’m not going to be judging Week Two but I might just head back to Brothers to see how the competition shakes out (and those Molson specials they’re running during the competitions are pretty tempting, too). — Jeff Niesel