This weekend marked the epic end of Rock Hunt 2014. It all went down at the Met on Friday night. The bands stood in a circle to receive their instructions and review the contest rules, and, after the Rock Hunt banner finally went up, the show commenced at 8:00 p.m.

This year’s wild card pick, the Bitchin’ Aardvarks, started the night off. The band members moaned angst into their microphones and got the audience moving with their energy and impressive guitar interludes. Perhaps most inspiring, throughout the performance, the band’s focus was their audience. They spoke to their fans between, and even during, songs. This was not a performance you would take your children to, but boy was it fun. Before “It’s Been Years,” the band told the audience, “Grab a partner or your balls—or your partner’s balls.” But, in the end, we surprisingly got into it!

The Rare Occasions took the stage next, with more control of their softer sound. The band was smooth and their music showed that you don’t have to be excessive in order to make great music. It was about the music with The Rare Occasions, and people respond to good music. Their music stirs emotions and their track “Half-Heartedly” made us yearn for love. The music of The Rare Occasions connected our souls to the band and captured our attention.

Jetty started off their set with a slow beat as if to ease the audience into their performance. As always during Jetty performances, the room was packed with their fans. Their time in the barn must have done them some good because the band returned with double the energy and passion. The drummer’s dreads danced as he pounded his heart out. “This next one’s got some stank,” Yeugene Barokha told the audience before one of their songs, and that song truly did have some stank. Everyone in the room—even their competitors—was engrossed in Jetty’s performance.

The Stilts had fans just as energetic and vocal as Jetty’s. The band had all the right ingredients for good rock: great harmonies, brilliant guitar, and a dash of soul. Their performance was strategic. Each part came in at exactly the right moment and left us entertained. This band is a living testimony that good music is a group effort. During the performance, a woman danced atop a companion’s shoulders pool chicken style as if dancing on the ground was not close enough to the music. The set ended to seemingly endless cheering from the fans.

In the end, the Rare Occasions won WBRU’s 2014 Rock Hunt. “Well, it feels really good,” the band members shared afterwards. The band was shocked and “honor(ed)” when they heard their name called and took the stage for pictures. When interviewed after the announcement, it became clear that, behind it all, the band is made up of four cool guys who really love music. The Rare Occasions plan to make good use of their winnings and hope to release a new EP by the end of April—band members Peter Stone and Brian McLaughlin have already written songs for the EP. The band would like to thank their families, Allegra, Arianna, DJ Paulo, Jared, and Frank the sound guy!

In wrapping up our 2014 Rock Hunt coverage, Congratulations to the Rare Occasions! We at WBRU can’t wait to hear what you produce next and hope you don’t forget us as you move on to what we are sure will be great things. Thanks to all the bands that participated and congratulations to our semifinalists—Here We Just Dream, The October Accord, Wild Sun, Paryah, Smith & Weeden, and The Can’t Nots—and the finalists—The Bitchin’ Aardvarks, Jetty, The Stilts. Keep rockin’ and see you next year!


Photos courtesy of Timothy Siekiera and WBRU Media Intern Lauren Galvan