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Drew McCarroll | Staff Photographer
Drew McCarroll | Staff Photographer
A guitarist from the band Nouveau performs at the Student Center Terrace during Battle of the Bands.
Music graced the Student Center Terrace on Tuesday, April 15, as five UC Irvine bands vied for a spot on the Wayzgoose stage during ASUCI’s annual Battle of the Bands.
Nouveau’s unique brand of pop-rock was well-balanced and upbeat. The band opened the show with poppy tunes and delivered a characteristically strong performance. The refreshingly talented group of sophomores utilized bouncy keyboard and flute solos alongside energetic guitar riffs to create bubbly, radio-ready hits. Vocalist and keyboardist Ashley Holm’s indie, country-style voice drove the band, maintaining a danceable vibe and capturing the crowd’s attention with fun, catchy hooks. Meanwhile, the bassist and drummer laid down a solid foundation and contrasting harmonies.
San Diego-based band Fussé’s performance was characterized by dance-y jazz piano and alternative rock, as the tenor saxophonist’s bluesy solos accompanied catchy keyboard parts. The band’s indie vibe was shaped by bouncy, dynamic guitar melodies. UCI band The Sessions opened its set with an alternative rock cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” then shifted between indie pop-rock and hard rock for a foot-tapping, danceable beat. Electrified guitar riffs complemented the vocalist’s unique voice.
Kearsey blended a wide range of musical styles, including hip- hop, alternative rock and funk. The lead guitarist laid down Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine-inspired riffs, while the DJ integrated the hip-hop technique of scratching on the turntable. The lead guitarist and the drummer eased the group’s transition between different musical styles; the drummer flaunted his musical chops as he effortlessly switched from rock to jazz to funk. The band’s bass-heavy songs steered the group toward a funk sound. Fourth-year vocalist Bentley Chang included politically inspired hip-hop lyrics, as well as more traditional hard-rock songs in his vocal repertoire.
Jebel captured the judges’ attention and the crowd’s interest with its solid performance and mostly mellow songs. The band’s style was reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins’ ballads, while its fast-paced songs seemed inspired by Tool and Radiohead. The band showcased its Incubus-influenced lead guitar melodies and Rufus Wainwright-style vocals in its expressive, emotive songs. Jebel’s ability to hold the judges’ attention allowed them to steal the grand prize at the Battle of the Bands, and win the opening spot in the Wayzgoose lineup on Saturday.

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