The Beat reflects on serving as a judge for the Instaband Battkle of the Bands

It was fun.

That's the first reason why we'd like to say thanks for the folks at Groove U for inviting The Beat to be one of the judges at last Friday night's semifinal round of the Instaband high school battle of the bands.

The second is that attending the event dispelled a notion about what this kind of event would be like. We confess we expected a full slate of metal and screamo bands among the 10 bands that performed. Nothing wrong with that, but we apparently had high school kids pegged all wrong.

OK sure, one of the three bands to advance - Groveport's rockin' A F(r)iend in Me - is screamo, we guess, if you've got to categorize, but the 10-band slate also included blues rockers (Bacha Schmitz and Remnant from The Wellington School), groove/funk rockers Funk Station from Mt. Vernon, eclectic pop act The Soup Police, two techno artists - Neza and Tassaris - who performed live from their laptops, modern pop duo dream:conductor, and pop-rockers A Side of Paradise from Westerville.

The other two "winners" who advanced to the finals were Reynoldsburg glam-rockers Hollywood Red and alternative duo Underground Magic.

Point is, stylistically, this music was all over the map. Which would have been comfort enough, but...

These kids can play. Whether all "traditional" instruments or employing modern live technology, there was some serious talent on the stage Friday night. Way cool.

Congrats to all who performed (many for the first time in front of, you know, actual people) and especially to the winners. The Instaband finals will be March 1. Keep check the Instaband site (linked above) for information.

Once again, thanks for the opportunity. And thanks for fellow judges Ben Shinberry of the Dick and Jane Project and Groove U instructor Neal Schmitt.