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The Suburbanite
  • Battle of the Bands victory is sweet for The Big Sweet

  • These weren’t your grandpa’s garage bands struggling to find the beat. The seven bands that rocked the Palace Theatre on Saturday night for The Repository’s seventh annual Battle of the Bands already had it. When it all was over, the winner was a veteran of last year’s battle — The Big Sweet, from Jackson High School.

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  • These weren’t your grandpa’s garage bands struggling to find the beat.
    The seven bands that rocked the Palace Theatre on Saturday night for The Repository’s seventh annual Battle of the Bands already had it.
    And the crowd of nearly 1,500 was wild with applause, screaming and cheering for the bands performing in the largest local high school rock’n’roll event.
    When it all was over, the winner was a veteran of last year’s battle — The Big Sweet, from Jackson High School.
    The battle featured all the stereotypical rock show flair: loud, heart-thumping music blasted from the stage as long-haired musicians leapt excitedly into the air, frantically strumming electric guitars at seemingly lightning speed.
    One musician from Central Catholic High School’s Jurassic ripped off his shirt before pulling his guitar back over his shoulder to play “Love Me Tender” by the Foo Fighters.
    Members of Hoover High School’s Skylight Revolution threw their shirts into the crowd to reveal T-shirts underneath bearing the words, “I Got Soul.” Obviously adoring fans threw them back onstage.
    And there were the preconcert jitters.
    Annabeth Connaughy, drummer of Lake High School’s Endless Nameless, wondered backstage how many people already were in the audience, adding that the wait was “very nerve-wracking.”
    “For me, the more people there seem to be, the less nervous I am,” said Matthew Smith, who plays in the band with Connaughy and Drew Wheeler.
    Wheeler’s mother, Darla Wheeler, already had found a seat in the audience. “I’m so excited,” she said, although her son and his bandmates already have performed at clubs in Cleveland, Akron and Kent.
    Others in the crowd provided nearly as much to see as the performers.
    As Creation in Chaos from Tuslaw High School played, more than 50 family, friends and fans swirled green, glow-in-the-dark necklace ropes overheard.
    Melany Bagnola of Jackson High School donned a large blue feather boa and a shirt decorated with blue houses for her favorite band, All the Blue Houses, from Jackson High School. It was the only band with a female lead vocalist.
    Madison Brady, a senior at Lake High School, said she had heard Hoover’s Skylight Revolution play and she wanted to hear more.
    “I want to hear them again because I want to see if they do anything new,” she said, adding that she is a friend of lead singer Ben Leeson.
    More than a dozen fans in the crowd waved large paddles for Jackson High School’s Big Sweet, the band that opened last year’s event and went on to take this year’s top spot.
    The crowd cheered during a brief instrumental passage in the middle of “Funeral,” played by Ding Dong from Hoover High School.
    Page 2 of 2 - Megan Farrabee, from Tuslaw, said she and her friends were there for Creation in Chaos because “we know them and they’re our friends and they’re really good.”
    Emily Zerby added, “And Cody has cool hair.” Cody Martin plays guitar and sings for the band.
    Not everyone who attended was a fan before walking into the Palace.
    Sophomore friends Kyle Tarbell of Timken High School and Tyler Adkins of Perry High School said they saw the Battle of the Bands advertised on the marquee and decided to check out the event.