Victoria wins Battle of the Bands
Orem’s progressive-rock band, Victoria, took first place at Battle of the Bands on Wednesday, March 30.
The competition, hosted by UVUSA, saw performances by seven different acts. The judges, whose identities weren’t revealed until the day of the performance, were some of Utah’s musical elite: Justin Johnson (Salt City Sound), Cory Mon (Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel), Michale Killian (Kite Theory), McKay Stevens (Vibrant Sound, North Platte Records co-owner), Adam Kaiser (the Neighbors) and Drew Kapener (Parlor Hawk).
The Second Round performed first, followed by Goodnight Annabelle. Both bands had obvious pop-punk influences, swinging anywhere between Brand New and Thrice to New Found Glory and Green Day.
The next band, Endon, had incredible stage presence. Bassist “Muerte” jumped offstage mid-performance, running through the crowd to roaring applause.
Victoria performed fourth while the judges exchanged affirmation that they had outperformed the first bands. Victoria has an exciting, spacey sound very similar to Muse, heavily influenced by the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin with a much more driven sound. Between the menacing keyboards and the psychedelic-rock guitar solos, anyone could tell that these guys have been practicing their scales.
Next, The Hideout performed and the girls went wild. Their acoustic-rock sound is reminiscent of early Saves the Day, but incorporating a cajon for their percussion and powerful vocal harmonies.
Kiss Me Kill Me performed last, giving another fantastic performance. The newest addition to their band, a classically trained pianist named Steve-O, offered an impressive technical element to help the band cement their pop-rock sound.
Following Kiss Me Kill Me’s performance, the judges deliberated briefly during a solo performance by Benji Xechimitl, who played a bold solo set including a cover of Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah.” The audience was asked to cast their votes for the best performance by placing their tickets into their favorite band’s glass container. After tallying up all of these votes, the judges made their decision.
The Hideout took third place, a prize of $50. In second place was Kiss Me, Kill Me, who won $150 plus an extra $50 prize for having the most student votes. Victoria came in first place, winning $300, a photo shoot by Aaron Eskeran valued at $700 and recording time with North Platte Records.
“We’ll probably use the money for some more recording,” said Austin Cross, the guitarist and lead vocalist for Victoria. “And we’ll have a modest party tonight. IHOP or something.”
To listen to Victoria’s music, visit www.SoundOfVictoria.com