Concert Review: High School Rock Off Round 2 at House of Blues


The second round of the 17th Annual High School Rock Off, which took place yesterday afternoon at House of Blues, wasn’t as eclectic the first round and featured bands that, for the most part, loosely fell into the emo/punk/alt-rock category. The four-hour affair started with Cromagnid, an alt-rock act out of University School that capably covered songs by both Muse and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Uptight, a snotty punk trio from Wellington High School, didn’t have any trouble delivering a set of six emo-influenced songs, all of which were original with the exception of an Alkaline Trio tune. Cardinal High School’s Lethal Synergy followed with a set that commenced with a cover of Rush’s “Spirit of the Radio” and concluded with a rocking rendition of “99 Red Balloons” that had the several members in the audience clapping along to the tune.

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.

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