Where to start? The riotous, jubilant acceptance “speech” by Church Marching Band? The amazing Beat Machine contraption, invented by a 19-year-old who works at Walmart? The grand finale, with the overflow crowd playing dozens of percussion instruments along to what turned out to be the top-scoring band?
The fact is, there were nonstop incredible moments in the Bohemian‘s packed-to-the-gills 2012 NorBay Awards and 24-Hour Band Contest last Saturday at the Arlene Francis Center. Radioactive’s freestyle about the kids in the front row; Jason the Argonaut rhyming through a bullhorn over a hardcore song; killer cover versions of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Look at Miss Ohio,” “We Got the Beat,” “Hallelujah” and “Walking in Your Footsteps.” Laughter, inspiration, joy.
I got home at 1am, exhausted yet gratified at the incredible success of what was by all estimation a totally ludicrous idea. To wit: on Friday night, I met with 22 willing participants and literally pulled names out of a hat to randomly assemble them into five different bands. Most of the musicians were complete strangers to each other, and I tasked them with writing two original songs together and learning one cover song in just 24 hours. At 8pm the next night, they’d return to perform in front of a live crowd.
I had no idea how it would turn out. (While rehearsals were underway, I received text after text from the band members: Do you have a megaphone we can use? Is it OK if we don’t have any lyrics? When will the beatboxer show up? We wrote a song that’s 18 minutes long, is that cool?) But in the end, every band rose to the challenge, and the huge crowd roared their approval, as did the judges.
So I’m very pleased to announce the winning band: Deborah Frank on vocals, Andy Graham on Slaperoo and didgeridoo, Teed Rockwell on Touchstyle Veena, Andy Maroney on drums and Dan Ford on percussion. They called themselves DyaTribal, and you might want to get used to that name; as they accepted the award, they declared that they’ll keep playing together as a real band.
Of course, we had our North Bay Music Awards to hand out too, and what a tremendous turnout we had in voting this year, with 1,637 total votes! Without further ado, the winners of the 2012 NorBays:
Blues / R&B: Levi Lloyd
Country / Americana: The Crux
DJ: Zack Darling
Folk / Acoustic: Church Marching Band
Hip-Hop / Electronic: Radioactive
Indie: Girls and Boys
Jazz: Hot Club Beelzebub
Punk / Metal: No Sir
Rock: Baby Seal Club
World / Reggae: Dgiin
Thanks to all who came, and as it’s updated, check on the YouTube channel for Burning Token media for videos from throughout the night. Here’s to next year!