The Red Shirts Come Out on Top at Battle of the Bands


On Friday, Donovan’s Pub was taken over by four unique bands battling for glory. Battle of the Bands, hosted by the Colgate Activities Board (CAB), drew a large crowd of students, all of whom had come to see and support Geese, Ryan Clements featuring Girl Band, The Red Shirts and On the Rocks.

MC first-year Lisa Heller introduced each of the acts with an anecdote about the origin of their band names. Geese was up first. The bandmates chose the name after deciding geese encapsulated their spirit. Junior Theo Salem-Mackell sang and played rhythm guitar for “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” by Wilco and an original song, “Gin and Rummy.” Juniors guitarist Gary Mucci and pianist Brian D’Auteuil rounded out the band. Wilco’s song was given an extra kick, with a louder piano part and more upbeat rhythm.

Ryan Clements featuring Girl Band performed next. Junior Ryan Clements played guitar and sang “Wake Me Up” by Avicii with junior Quincy Pierce. Their soulful duet, along with Clements’ hair, captured the audience’s attention. 

The Red Shirts performed a mash-up of “Some Nights” by Fun, “Can I Kick It” by A Tribe Called Quest and “Riptide” by Vance Joy. Lead singer first-year Jabari Ajao made sure to involve the audience during “Can I Kick It,” asking attendees to respond with “Yes I Can.” Bassist Mike Rapaport, drummer Matt Lee, guitarist Austin Smith and pianist Ben Glickman, all first-years, freestyled and showed off their talents during the transition to “Riptide.” The mashup was well received by the judges. 

Lastly, On the Rocks took the stage. Turning two light songs into an intense hard rock experience was unexpected and surprised everyone present, including the judges. Their efforts more than paid off. “Fireflies” by Owl City and “Let it Go” from the popular children’s movie Frozen included intricate guitar solos by electric guitarist first-year Andrew Kolesar and vocals capable of reaching the higher notes were provided by first-year Jacob King. First-years Paul Sim and Jake Baynum played bass and rhythm guitar, respectively. On drums was first-year Franklin Van Nes. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed the twists on the two popular songs. 

While each band played, the judges were deliberating on a winner. First-year Kristen Cusumano, sophomore Kiki Torpey and senior Francesca Surraco had a difficult time choosing. 

“It was a really tough decision because all of the bands were really talented,” Torpey said. “We thought the Red Shirts were really creative, but On the Rocks had a great energy. We had to honor [The Red Shirts’] creativity.”  

In the end, first place went to The Red Shirts and the runner-up was On The Rocks.

“I thought we communicated well,” King said. “We performed the songs the best we’ve ever done. It just came down to subjective opinion.”