Bands Battle at Tally-Ho Theatre

Joshua Montano, Editor-in-chief

From rousing punk rock that rabbled the crowd to soft solo artists, the Battle of the Bands attracted kids and adults alike from Feb. 22 to March 23.


The battles took place on Feb. 22, Jan. 25, Dec. 7, and March 23 at Tally Ho Theater in downtown Leesburg.


The winners are picked by judges, and first place winners are given $500. Second placers and “fan favorite” winners also have the choice to receive money, earn studio time, or receive private lessons from professional songwriters.


This year, metal band KAGE won first place, while rock band King Street followed in second place. The fan favorite (picked by the crowd) was alternative rock band Shreve Mill, while the best soloist was instrumental metal guitarist, Jintamiko.


The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) in Loudoun Youth organized the event. Juniors Grace Guido, Caroline Chang, and Megan Brosan took part in planning, running, and announcing the events.


“The goal of YAC is to have teens be more involved in the community,” Brosan said. “We chose to host Battle of the Bands because it gives really talented teens a chance to showcase their art, while also giving them a chance to get experience in the music industry.”


The last battle on March 23 sold out for the first time in the program’s history, forcing volunteers to ask people to leave if their favorite bands had already performed.


“Over time we have attracted a following and now it is stronger than ever,” Guido said. “Most of that is a result of having really strong and talented bands that attract crowds.”


The Knuckleheads, a band composed of middle schooler guitarists Jaden Barger and Charlie Cook, bassist Demain Osorio, and drummer Sam Smith, performed on Dec. 7 and March 23, winning fan favorite on Dec. 7.


“We loved playing the battle,” Osorio said. “Our favorite takeaway was the experience of playing in front a sold out venue, the crowd was amazing.”


The Knuckleheads burst onto the stage with high energy, covering “Got the Time” by Anthrax and “Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crue. They also played two originals, “Writing the Song” and “My Own Knife.” “My Own Knife” specifically addressed the struggles of depression, the message of the song raising suicide awareness.


“[My Own Knife] is about overcoming internal struggle and overcoming suicidal thoughts,” Osorio said on stage before the performance. “If you’re ever having a hard time in life, suicide is not the way.”


Before the ear-splitting rock bands, soloist Zoe Mutreja opened the March 23 battle with calming, original acoustic songs.


“The first song was an original about entering high school and the experience,” Mutreja said. “The second was an uplifting song for anyone going through a rough time. The last one was also about beating your mental demons and depression. I was hoping to inspire and help kids having a rough time.”


For some, solo performing is something to dread. For Mutreja, the audience’s support help makes her feel relaxed so she could enjoy herself.


“Don’t worry about others expectations, just have fun,” Mutreja said. “It’s never perfect up there, even for professionals, so it’s okay if you make mistakes.”


Acoustic duo Oh, Lily comprising of Becca and Claire followed right after, playing soothing originals like “Halftime” and “Picture.”


“The crowd actually was very reasurring.” Becca said. “They had a really great energy that was easy to feed off of and I think that helped our performance tremendously.”