For 4 years now, I have judged the annual "Battle of the Bands" at my old high school with my dad (who has done it for 11 of the 12 years they have been doing it). What a blast it is. But, oh, how it is loud!!! We judged this years contest this past Friday night, the 13th.
There were 7 bands preforming this year. Of course, most of the music is punk and/or heavy metal- which are not my favorite forms of music by any means. However, I have an appreciation for any genre of music when written and performed well. There was a little variety. For example, a soloist doing acoustic guitar (with a song written to his girlfriend- how cute is that?!?!) and an Irish punk band, hard rock and "screaming" heavy metal.
The talent is actually very surprising. These kids are teenagers and are really very good. Each group is supposed to do at least one original and one cover song. I always scored well for their original song because I am just so impressed that teenagers can write music- and well at that! They are judged on: vocalist, percussion, guitar, bass guitar, stage presence, original song, overall- and then there was a grand champion and 2nd place. There was 6 judges and we each judge according to our opinion and award them a score in each category. Then, we all meet in a room and decide mutually who gets what. I had definite opinions on who should get first and second place and all the other judges agreed as well. There were two bands that distinctly stood out.
The grand champions were "50% shadow". They.... were...good! There was only 3 in the group- two guitarist and a drummer....the drummer was a GIRL!!!!! And, by far, the BEST percussionist of the night. Here is a picture...wish I would have thought to record a short video with my camera...
The second place band was just amazing as well. They were called "St Patrick's Folly" and consider themselves "Irish Funk" I believe. They had incredible music variety: Violin, guitars, percussion, flute, piano whistle and more. They did modern music as well as Irish traditional music put to a rock beat. Very creative, I thought. Plus, you have to give credit to high school boys wearing kilts:
(The guy on the right of the above picture was playing the part of a "drunken sailor" as they sang the traditional song titled as such...) They had two singers- male and female. The girl- aside from her skirt being too short- was just too darn adorable, I thought:
Again, it didn't occur to me to take a short video, but this group is on You Tube. So, here is a clip. Forgive the poor sound quality- it is the camera, not them. But, the sound gets a little better after the first 30 seconds or so. This was recorded at last years Battle of the Bands, which I also judged.
Of course, some of the bands weren't so good. Like the group where the singer literally just screamed. I gave him a score of "1" (out of 5) on vocals and commented that screaming was not a vocal talent- my kids do that everyday! Then, in a different group, the keyboardist was too distracted by the hood on his sweatshirt and his hair to play his keyboard right. But, really, they were all amazingly good considering their age. You could tell how hard they work. So, again, not my favorite genre of music, but still really fun- and a good opportunity to spend time with my dad. We made an evening of it and went out to dinner before as well.
AND NOW- A FUNNY STORY!!!! A little long, but funny if you are up to reading it.
So, my dad picked me up for the evening in his red Ford F-150 pick up truck. He has night blindness and is not supposed to drive after dark. So, we decided I would take him home after the contest and drive his truck home, and then we would get it back to him later. So, after I dropped him off, I am driving down the freeway on my way home. One thing I notice is that his truck has a bit of a mind of its own and does NOT like to go under 70 mph on the freeway. Very easy to speed in- despite my efforts to slow down, I continually found myself going faster.
At one point, I pass a freeway sign/marquee (you know, the ones with messages about road conditions, amber alerts, etc.). The sign says (no joke....) "Missing adult- Red Ford F 150- License #...... Call 911 immediately if seen..." Okay, that is really weird. Not my license number, obviously- I wasn't missing! But, I had to wonder what the car driving beside me was thinking....
So, on I drive. At one point, I look down at the speedometer and see I am going 77 mph. Crap- slow down. Just then, I look in my rear view mirror and see a cop car with lights going about 1/2 mile back. CRAP!!!! I am in my dads car- I can't get a speeding ticket!!! I slowed way down and looked again and no longer saw the lights....Phew.... but now I really watched my speed. So, I get off the freeway at my exit and look in the rear view mirror and there is a cop behind me without his lights going. I think I am soooooo done. So, I get off the freeway and he follows me. I turn into my neighborhood....he follows me!!! Still, no lights on. I turn onto the next street and decided that if he still followed me, I was just going to pull over- what was the point? He had me. So, I turned on the next road, but he kept going straight....very slowly. I drive on home and my heart beat slowly returns to normal.
So, the question is.... did he follow me because I had been speeding and wanted to make sure I stayed under the speed limit- or, did he follow me because I was a red F-150 and wanted to make sure I am not the missing adult? We figure it was the latter- and that he only turned on his lights on the freeway to catch up with me, then just followed me as he called it in. Yikes! Too weird.
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