Battle of the Bands springs electrifying performances

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.

Lounging on the green, daisy-studded grass, indulging in chocolate-covered sweet treats (Choco Tacos are back!) and getting immersed in back-to-back live music performances. What else could better embody the emergence of spring quarter? 

Students from all over campus gathered in front of Terman Fountain on Saturday to witness the Battle of the Bands, hosted by Stanford Concert Network. The student bands gradually shook off the calm spring daze with electric performances. 

Both freshly formed groups like The Move and seasoned student musicians like EASHA, Lavender Love Lounge and Six of Spades competed for a chance to open for this year’s Frost Music and Arts Festival featuring Blxst, UMI and Alemeda. 

Students in attendance had the chance to vote on which band they believed should earn the performance opportunity. Audience members had to receive a wristband after each group’s set to vote through a ballot at the end of the showcase.

The annual performance brought together hundreds who spread out on the lawn and socialized with friends, showing their support through enthusiastic head bops. A select few joined bands near the stage to dance spiritedly.   

Olivia Ziegler ’25 has been coming to the Battle of the Bands since her freshman year. 

“It’s one of the first spring events and it’s so nice — people just sort of come out of their cave,” Ziegler said. 

The event kicked off with Lavender Love Lounge, who performed an array of upbeat remix covers along with their characteristic groovy and psychedelic R&B originals. Their eccentric sound was refreshing, presenting a mischievous edge that evoked a distinct funk sound reminiscent of Thundercat. Unconventional yet appealing, I was drawn in to keep listening and subconsciously tune in to the undulating harmonies.

Lead singer Ally Casasola ’24 M.S. ’25 shone with her experimental, dynamic vocals, adding her own touch to familiar favorites like Tyler the Creator’s “See You Again” and Keyshia Cole’s classic “Love.” 

The new (and much-anticipated) seven-man band The Move brought electric energy through their jazzy, soul lens. The group featured two front-row saxophone players and the soulful and charismatic vocals of lead singer Jackson McCormick ’27. 

The ensemble kept the audience on their toes with faux, comical phone calls spoken live by McCormick, encouraging listeners to follow the band on Instagram. They hit a well-striked balance between funky set choices like “Smalltown Boy” with sing-along hits like Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” 

The well-paced performance brought a modern take to soul and blues, hooking me into their uplifting, dance-worthy music that brought a bounce to everyone in the audience.

EASHA and her Ponyboys also delivered a charged performance. Her astoundingly smooth vocals and acoustic sound complemented personal originals. The pop rock influence was laced in between her heartfelt ballads that ranged from love songs (“Ivy League”) to personal affirmations (“Floating Rock”). 

She also played her widely successful singles “Far Away” and “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” both authentic narratives about her experiences as a growing songwriter and individual. The fun and catchy vocals struck me as more than just emotionally-grounded pop — EASHA’s sheer talent and varied themes in her songs naturally resonate with a college audience.

EASHA, or Easha Nandyala ’24, competed for the last time at the Battle of the Bands and found it rewarding to showcase her work in a competitive setting.

“I think it’s a culmination of all your work — finding bandmates that really fit me, synergy, style and a set list is really important to me,” Nandyala said. 

Nandyala thought that this year’s musical choices were more unique and genre-bending than in previous years.

“I think the lineup is very funk-soul-artsy. I think we put that into account to figure out our setlist — a little more wonky just to differentiate a bit,” Nandyala said. 

The explosive finale of the night was the increasingly well-known Six of Spades. The two-year-old band carried through the same theme of genre-mixing and audience engagement. 

Many attendees got up from the lawn to move to the band’s lively rendition of “Put Your Records On,” united by lead singer Ty Hosein’s ’26 hearty vocals. The group then performed a quick snippet of MF Doom’s “Rapp Snitch Knishes,” led by bassist Yare Ikwut-Ukwa ’26. The infamous hip-hop song was one typically out of the group’s niche of jazz-infused pop, but the band kept the audience enthralled with their accompanying skits in between songs.  

Six of Spades also played some of their originals, including a debut of their new single “Runnin.’” The song beautifully echoed their lyrical expertise, bolstered by their layered and energetic instrumentals like the lively trombone played by Andrew Zhang ’26. 

I appreciated the band’s spotlighting of each member throughout their set. Pianist Kai Charp ’26 displayed an intricate, impassioned sequence on the electric keys, while drummer Sid Yu ’26 demonstrated his robust percussion skills that concluded the pieces — and event — with a bang. 

After the bands finished their job on-stage, it was the audience’s turn to cast their votes for whom they would want to see open for Frost Fest. The results are yet to be announced.

First-time attendee Riley Casagrande ’24 found it challenging to rank the performers.

“It’s hard to choose a favorite. So far, I have loved Lavender Love Lounge. I think they have a great sound,” Casagrande said. “But everyone has been so talented.”