April 22, 2024
Annapolis, US 61 F

Bands Slug It Out At 15th Battle Of The Bands

August In One from South River High School rocks the crowd at the 15th Annual Battle of the Bands.

11 bands poured into Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts yesterday afternoon hoping to take away the top prize.

The Battle of the Bands is the annual competition for rock bands from Anne Arundel County high schools. Every high school in the county is invited to send their best rock band to Maryland Hall each January, to compete in front of judges who are professionals in the music industry. Proceeds from this event go to the music departments of the top 4 bands.

The winner receives a session with Steve Wright at Studio A of Wright Way Studios to record one of its songs which will be played on 98 Rock and WHFS. In addition, the band will be featured as the opening act at this year’s Silopanna Music Festival in August.

The event was founded in 1999, by local arts supporter Nancy Almgren and  has grown into the largest event of its kind in the entire country. All proceeds from the event are donated to the winning bands’ school music departments. To date, over $90,000 has been raised.

Many local businesses step up to the plate to help out with food, printing, catering, visual and sound, and more.

A panel of four judges had a tough time last night.  The panel, comprised of experts in the industry included Chris Keith, a creative marketing specialist with CBS radio; Elise Letavish, the tour manager for Mac Miller; Larry Robdell, a local drummer and instructor at robdelldrums.com; and Kevin Hock, lead vocalist for the band Loving the Lie and marketing manager for 24-7 Entertainment. As an interesting sidebar, Kevin played in the very first Battle of the Bands in 1999 representing Northeast High.

The Winners

The level of talent was amazing and the music ranged from almost-screamo music, to soft rock/country-esque, to hard rock, to fusion funk with quite a few more as well. The judges had a very difficult time.  We spoke with Hock during the intermission and he admitted that the level of talent has definitely been picked up a notch over the years. “It’ll be a real hard decision to figure this one out.”

In the end, Davey Jones and the Sailors of Funk emerged victorious. Their stage presence was off the charts and their sound, a mixture of old time blues with a modern funk backed by a trumpet and saxophone reminded me a bit of Tower fo Power. While most bands were more rock focused, the Sailors stepped out and had the capacity crowd on their feet and cheering. Davey Jones and the Sailors of Funk were representing the Severn School in Severna Park.

As I said, the choice was difficult for the judges, but Five Seconds to Freedom, from Spalding came in 2nd place with South River’s August In One coming in third. Medora (a band that was selected as a crowd favorite via voting on Facebook) and Floozie from Severna Park High both tied for fourth place.

This year, the organizers asked for people to tweet their support for their favorite band with the hashtag #AABattle. And support they got, including the first one from one of the judges.




If anyone was any good photos to share of the bands, please send them to [email protected]



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