– This quirky pop outfit started off the night talking. Just talking. In fact, for most of their time on stage the lead singer was explaining each song. He elaborated with such detail that the lyrics were robbed of content and consisted of many “la-la”s and “hey-eh”s. The One-Two has a strong local support which is a positive. However, if they exerted the same detail on their songwriting as they do their middling commentary, they could have something good going.
FUN FACT: They never played the banjo.
Paint the Woods
– Paint the Woods humbly crept on stage following the jovial predecessors. The started strong and catchy with a bouncy, toe tapping folk tune. Then they took it down a notch. The lead singer began an introspective journey mirrored in their sound. I thought they matched this very well. For example, in their last song, “Millions Words,” they used a guitar effect that perfectly resonated with the lyric “I see your face in a million people.” The were high emotion, accessible, and connected with the crowd even if they didn’t realize it was happening.
– There was a bit of confusion as to what the actual name of this group was, but in no way did that take away from their performance. They were confident and comfortable on-stage and had a healthy helping of fans crowded in the front. Their set was well-organized and showcased their range. At the heart of what they do is a love for music and it bleed through each lyric. The Emissary began the show with the song “Soldier On” and it was accompanied with a boom-clap, boom-clap rhythm. It fueled images of marching troops. They were quite fun.
– The most striking thing about this group was not their advanced age, I’d wager mid to late 30s, but the over-sexualized performance by the lead vocalist. She strutted about the stage and it was uncomfortable. These two factors were alienating. The music was performed with skill. The mismatch in the vocals and music caused the songs to drag. Eighth Day is precise and well-known and will have more success. However, I do not believe they were suited for this competition.
– The final act was the last installment in what was a sequential trilogy of rock artists. Interro Bang rushed their songs forth into the late crowd and they were well received. I’ll be honest, their final song “Where Do I Go,” was the only track that had me singing along with the chorus (which was preceded by a fantastic pre-chorus build-up). With some fine tuning and practice, I am hopeful for their future.
I am growing tired of these pop-punk-emo acts. They are talented, skilled, and good at what they do. But I’ve become rather disenchanted with the repetitive nature of the genre. Ten or twelve years ago I would have adored every one of these acts. I would have been on the front row, dressed in black, with my Chuck Taylors and everything would have been dandy. I recognize that this is the music for their audience and it’s what they are wanting to perform. But it’s not my cup of tea any longer. This definitely factored into why I selected Paint the Woods to win the competition. They were different from all the other acts on the night. Just because their lyrics weren’t accompanied with power chords doesn’t mean they were lacking emotion. Paint the Woods songs were epic and drenched with emotion. An easy pick for me.
5. Eighth Day – 5.8
4. The One-Two – 6.2
3. Interro Bang – 7.6
2. The Emissary – 7.8
1. Paint the Woods (Winner) – 7.9