The Square Room was comfortably full on Nov. 4 with a lively crowd of students, local music buffs, and supportive family members all eager to see their favored band take the title in the second installment of the club’s six-month Sound Off competition.
The night kicked off with the Enigmatic Foe, performing their songs “Reciprocation” and “Cinnamon and Cigarettes” as well as a cover of “When Doves Cry,” going in for some pretty impressive harmonies on the chorus. (Contestants were required to perform a song by Prince in their set.) Kamuy was round two’s only band with a female member (Sonya Easterday); after an original song called “Shatterproof,” the Joy Division-inspired trio chose a sparse and spooky rendition of the Prince-penned “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Eventual winners Vinyl Thief came on third—the five young men who all share a house began their set with a song called “Puzzles,” their red-headed frontman’s vocals recalling those of Thom Yorke. Their cover was “Kiss,” and the lead singer ambitiously—and successfully—went for the original’s falsetto. (Judge Eric Nowinski praised the band, saying he could see them playing Coachella or a similar rock festival in a few years.)
Fourth came Madre, whose arrival onstage definitely garnered the most crowd enthusiasm. The pop-rock foursome played their own “The Aderall Song” and offered not one but two Prince covers: the subdued “7” and then a raucous, if unoriginal, take on “Let’s Go Crazy.” The fifth and final band to perform was the year-old Seeing Skies. Their cover of “I Would Die 4 U” put a distinct spin on Prince’s original, turning the up-tempo Purple Rain track into an emotional lament, with lovely guitar work and a crowd sing-along.
Vinyl Thief will move on to the final match on March 3. Taylor Brown and Company, the winners of the October contest, are already slotted for the finals.