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Rock Hunt Semifinals: Night 1

Rock Hunt Semifinals kicked off Friday at The Spot Underground featuring semifinalists Here We Just Dream, The October Accord, and The Rare Occasions. Each band got on and performed a prepared set list of their songs and thanked WBRU for the opportunity. The event commenced at 7pm when the judges got settled and the fans of the bands flocked to the stage with Narragansett beers in their hands.

Here We Just Dream performed first. They have a smooth sound that comes with experience, an advantage the band has over this year’s younger contestants. This is not the band’s first time competing in Rock Hunt. “We sound better this year,” Taylor Kirkwood, the band’s keyboardist, singer, co-composer and co-writer—and, possibly, the man with the softest hands in the world—said. “It feels great. I love being here.” He explained that the band participates in Rock Hunt for the exposure. When I asked him if he was worried about the competition, he replied, “It’s the last thing on my mind. We’ve already won. (I should) worry about things I can change.”

Next was The October Accord. One word to describe the band: energetic. The members of the band just might be incapable of standing still which is great for engaging the audience but not for the photographer who had difficulty taking a clear, focused picture of the band. The band members take full advantage of the stage. You can tell that these kids love playing. They really immerse themselves into the music, entertaining the audience and inspiring the crowd to get into it too. Lead singer Kerri Gross told me after their set “It was so fun. I loved it.”

The Rare Occasions closed out the line up with a set that got the crowd moving. Every member of the audience was shaking something as the band played. This band lends the sound of classic rock to a new generation. With catchy lyrics and gripping melodies, this band captures the essence of youth and puts it forth into their music. The Tufts and Berklee students “couldn’t imagine life without (music).” Their background in music resonated through their performances captivating the listeners. Brian McLaughlin, the lead singer of the band, told me that he had been worried that the audience wouldn’t be engaged in the performance of a young and relatively unknown band. His concerns were soon put to rest. “We felt the energy.”

After The Rare Occasions performance, Kirkwood told me “They’ve got what (Rock Hunt wants).”

The Promo contest showed that people will do anything for prizes. Three fans held out beer mugs filled with water with one hand until their arms were tired. The last fan standing was named the winner. Two fans engaged in a rhyming battle. Winners of the night’s competitions went away with prizes such as ski passes, hats, and various Narragansett paraphernalia.

At the end of the night, it was announced that Peter Stone of The Rare Occasions had won the drawing for Deer Tick tickets.

In the end, Stone turned out to be doubly lucky, for it was The Rare Occasions that the judges chose as the winners of Round 1 of Rock Hunt. McLaughlin, Luke Imbusch, Stone, and Jeremy Cohen were “pleasantly surprised” when they heard they had won. “We are super excited and hoping to go all the way.” This is the band’s second time entering the contest. “It feels good to finally make it.”

The last two rounds of Rock Hunt Semifinals are this Thursday and Friday March 13, 2014 and March 14, 2014 at the Mardi Gras Nightclub and The Fatt Squirrel, respectively. Wild Sun, The Stilts, and Paryah are playing Thursday, and Smith & Weeden, The Can’t Nots, and Jetty are playing Friday.

Photos courtesy of Media Content Intern Naana OM

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