The band Goal Keeper performs at "Battle of the Bands" on Saturday, March 3, 2018 in the Chamberlain Student Center. -Staff Photo/Scott Buzby

The 2018 Battle of the Bands brought a variety of Rowan musical acts to the Chamberlain Student Center over the weekend. Hosted by Rowan After Hours and Student University Programmers, the competition was overseen by three judges who chose one musical act to open for this year’s Hollybash headlining artist, Andy Grammer.

Six bands competed for the opportunity and the competition was stiff. Each band was assessed by their stage presence, quality and talent, as well as crowd reaction. Along with the winner determined by the judges, a second winner was determined by the audience in a fan favorite vote. The fan favorite would get the chance to headline the small stage at Hollybash.

As the night wound down, the audience members placed their ballots on the second floor of the Student Center.

The fan favorite was Sofia Khorosh, whose stage name is SØF. Khorosh amazed the audience, performing with her acoustic guitar and accompanied by a drummer. She performed her original song, available on iTunes and Spotify, called “XO,” as well as a cover of the Brittney Spears hit, “…Baby One More Time.”

While the judges debated over who would win the opportunity to open for Andy Grammer, audience members speculated on their top picks.

“Probably Native Riff,” James Porskievies said, a sophomore mechanical engineering major. “They’re like the music I listen to. They sounded like a band you’d find on the radio.”

Sophomore civil engineering major Brendon Chiappa agreed.

“Also Native Riff for similar reasons,” Chiappa said. “I think they sound a little bit like The 1975. I think I heard a little bit of that sound, the pop rock sound.”

After much deliberation, the judges awarded the honor of opening for Andy Grammer at Hollybash to Native Riff.

Native Riff is an alternative band containing two guitars, vocals, a bass guitar, keyboard and drums. They performed their cover of The Killers’ song “When You Were Young” and several of their originals, including “Better Off,” available on iTunes and Spotify.

Four other performers came to the main stage Saturday night to compete. Though they didn’t win, they certainly gave memorable performances.

The band Green Knuckle Material presented a performance that fused rap and rock. Their rapper front man took the stage in a flashy, rose embroidered jacket that certainly didn’t steal the attention from his fierce vocals. In between songs, their own tenor saxophone player played the song “Careless Whisper,” originally by George Michael and popularized by Sexy Sax Man.

Goal Keeper, a trio made up of a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer, performed an original song called “Left Lane,” which reflected the frustrations of a traveler commuting on the parkway while stuck in the left lane behind another car going 40 mph. Their final, and most well-received song, paralleled the feelings of heartbreak with feeling like an old hoagie from Wawa. The on-stage banter and relaxed personalities of these band members charmed the audience.

Singer and keyboardist Tyler Sarfert performed with his backing band, consisting of a guitarist, bassist and drummer. The band performed their style of pop and rock mixed with a little soul. In addition to an amazing solo from their bassist, Tyler Sarfert also performed his song “Alive” from his 2016 album “Transitions”, which is available on Spotify.

Concluding the Battle of the Bands competition was Afloat. The trio group of a bassist, drummer and guitarist performed a cover of “Dizzy on the Comedown” by Turnover as well as a few of their own compositions.

Hollybash will take place on Friday, Apr. 20 and feature Andy Grammer, SØF and Native Riff.

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