Review of Sound Off! Semi-Final #2 at EMP Museum by Alyssa T.
The EMP’s Sound Off! Semi-Final #2 was intimate. And when I say “intimate,” I do not mean excessive amounts of PDA, tons of sweaty bodies, and booties grinding up against one another. I mean before the concert began, a random stranger complimented Honora, jazzy lead singer of the first performing band, on her flaming red polka dot dress as she strolled out of a bathroom stall. Easily, I was able to walk over and greet Nate, the vocalist of my all-time favorite act of the night, NUDE, who charmed me with a hand-written business card. After delivering energetic rhymes, the Brothers From Another, like the bands before them, trickled into the audience to take pictures with adoring fans, and enjoy the music of competition. Upon rocking the stage, I saw friends and family of Ulrich joyfully patting the band members on the back and congratulating them on a wonderful performance. The audience was sprinkled with friends, family members, old and new fans, and even teachers eager for some great music. And the bands did not disappoint.
If you’re a twenty-first century teenager, you’ve probably heard of talented kids our age acting, singing, composing, and doing all sorts of crazy stuff. This is your chance to see some of that crazy stuff. It is no joke how talented and inspiring these age 21 and under bands are.
The bands drew straws to determine the order of performance舐how cute is that?舐and Honora was the first up. The lead singer for which the band is named after, Honora Hildreth, has a powerful yet soothing singing style that strongly resembles Adele, with a hint of Zooey Deschanel peppered in. The lyrics are full of passion and experience, nothing short of impressive given the songwriter’s young age, and the guitarist ripped through the air with incredible sound during his solo. The band exudes confidence on the stage, and encourages audience interaction by clapping throughout the show. For a sweet performance, Honora was deemed the wildcard winner of the Sound Off! Semi-Final #2. This means for the upcoming finals, their name will be added to a pool with all the other wildcard winners from each of the rounds, and potentially drawn for the opportunity to play their hearts out in the 11th Annual Sound Off! Finals.
As wonderful as Honora was, I have to say that the second band, NUDE, absolutely blew me away. The band does not just create music, but the experience of falling into an enchanting and ethereal dream state. This is a band that you have to see live, while they’re here and not in their home town, Spokane, because no recording posted online can do them justice. Their incredible talent with musical composition, and their beautiful incorporation of synthetic sounds, will melt your heart and draw huge smiles across your face. This band has the potential to be as big as bands like MGMT, Friendly Fires, Broken Social Scene, and Arcade Fire. Not only did they sweep me away, but also the judges, who awarded them 1st place in the Sound Off! Semi-Final #2, and the entire crowd, who cheered at the top of their lungs to award NUDE the Audience’s Choice award. As the winners of the round, the band will automatically advance to the Sound Off! finals, meaning you still have the chance to experience the bare talent of NUDE for yourself on March 3rd.
The third performers, Brothers From Another, traveled all the way from California to please the crowd with their heavy bass and rhythmic lines. Of all the bands, Brothers From Another were the masters of crowd engagement, rapping about relateable teen issues, waving their hands with the crowd, and even flirting with the audience. The DJ and two hip-hop performers brought humor, energy, and passion to the stage. For younger audiences, their performance may not be appropriate for the swearing and discussion of females. For me, it was an interesting experience to gain exposure to a musical genre I don’t normally appreciate, and a good reminder that music exists to please the people. With Brothers From Another, the people were very pleased.
Last but not least, Ulrich, the most rock-inspired band of the night, took the stage. Their sounds were much harder than what I was expecting based on the sound recording I listened to on the EMP’s Sound Off! page; instead of a Death Cab for Cutie impression, I got more of a Young the Giant one. Regardless, I enjoyed the raw quality they brought to the concert. Their music was incredibly interesting in that it was easy to get lost in. Perhaps it was because it was nearing the end of the night, but I spaced out too many times while listening to their music, despite the awesome earthquake-like reverbs they produced. All in all, Ulrich knew how to rock the stage.
If you like discovering new bands, and witnessing great talent, go see the last Sound Off! Semi-Final round, and the 11th Annual Sound Off! Finals. It’s like a mini Bumbershoot or Sasquatch with inspiring musicians our age. And if you are allergic to great music, go see GregR, host on 107.7 The End, and a pretty entertaining Sound Off! host as well.
Sound Off! 2012
Semi-Final #3: Saturday, February 25
Final: Saturday, March 3
Teen Tix $5 at the door
More info at empmuseum.org
Previews, reviews, photos and more on the soundboard