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Battle of the bands

Katie Bradham, Asst. Photo Editor
Modern Mammals kicks off the Battle of the Bands with their original song “Crying Eyes.”

On April 3, Clemson’s premiere broadcast station hosted a battle of the bands at the botanical garden, a classic competition where local bands take the stage and perform their own songs in hopes of out-rocking the other. Three bands, each made up of Clemson students, performed for about an hour each, mixing in covers with their original music to entertain a small but engaged audience.
First to grab the stage was Modern Mammals, a three-piece band that focused on revitalizing and reclaiming an older rock sound. Many of their songs embodied a certain aged quality to them, with chill tones and earthy vocals that could be best compared to some of the more mellow work of 90’s rock mixed with just a hint of blues.
Opening the battle with an unreleased song of theirs titled “Losing My Mind,” followed by a track called “Jealousy,” the vocals were what set Modern Mammals apart the most.
A grungy, yet precise, sound gave all their songs a unique and foot- tapping feel, which I found was most present in their single “Crying Eyes,” available for streaming on Spotify. The guitar medley fit perfectly with the soulful lyrical delivery.
In fact, while listening back to the song on Spotify to flesh out this commentary, it made its way to my liked playlist and earned their page a follow.
Afterwards, they played their two other released songs, “Spaceship” and “Orange Juice.” Both kept up the earthy tone they had set, but were also examples of one of their biggest, albeit small, flaws. Lyricism, despite the smooth vocals, is often a stumbling block for Modern Mammal. A small critique and one that isn’t quite necessary to make an enjoyable song, sure, but I feel like a stronger lyrical presence could raise an already enjoyable song to an unforgettable one.
Around the end of their set, they performed “Edges,” the title track to their upcoming album to be released on April 23. To keep up-to-date on the release and other works, you can follow Modern Mammals on their Instagram (@modern_mammals) or Spotify (Modern Mammals).
Following Modern Mammals’ strong opening was a band named New Issue. Described as an “Out-of-the-box indie rock trio hailing from a basement in the Upstate of South Carolina,” they came to the table with an energetic change of pace. Performing songs from their 2020 album “The Cellar,” New Issue instilled a bit more hype in a crowd that had been peacefully listening up until this point.
Their lineup included songs such as “Diss Me,” “The Chicks Are Restless” and “Shrunken Man.” While Modern Mammals embodied more of a soulful yearning, New Issue let out their anger, frustration and sorrow without filter, and the audience’s energy reciprocated.

By far the best thing about their performance was the guitar. In the most technical of terms, their guitar was shredded consistently and thoroughly. Without fail, the guitar grabbed my attention and provided a much-needed depth to their rock sound.
That being said, vocally the band was not as strong. It allowed for the guitar to shine, sure, but I believe a stronger vocal presence could have taken some songs up a notch. Admittedly, some of their songs such as “Ohio Jones” took better advantage of the more lax singing style.

For news of any future releases or performances, you can follow New Issue on their Instagram (@newissueband) or their Spotify (New Issue!)
Next up and last to perform, a band called Sitris rose to finish off the night of music and merriment. Boasting four members and a comforting familiarity with the crowd, Sitris showcased a wide variety of genres and vibes in their music. Whether it be the familiar indie sound, a twinge of mid- western emo or even some screamo and abrasive vocals, Sitris continued to raise the bar in energizing the audience.
Their performance included mostly unreleased tracks such as “Party Cups,” “Sunbeam” and “Mr. Clean.” While nodding at new music being released during the beginning of summer, the band showcased the one song they currently have streaming titled “Ryobi,” which thankfully happens to be my favorite of theirs.

The strengths of Sitris were clear and many. As Modern Mammals stood out vocally and New Issue rocked guitar, Sitris’ drums felt the most compelling and inspired the most headbanging. In general, the band had multiple powerful breakdowns that gave each song a unique flavor. The drums stood out the most, but only shined thanks to the consistency of the rest of the band.
While still not as vocally intriguing as Modern Mammals, Sitris did receive the best crowd engagement. Audience members rose out of their seats and danced along with the band, some even moshing with the band’s encouragement. In general, Sitris seemed to have the best stage presence, interacting when they could and occasionally filling technical-difficulty-caused silences with corny but enjoyable jokes. 
To keep up with any future releases and updates from Sitris, you can follow them on Instagram (@sitris_band) or Spotify (Sitris).

At the end of the performances, WSBF hosts handed out QR codes that let the audience vote for their favorite act of the night, with Sitris being named the winner.
We reached out to congratulate Sitris afterward and asked for a statement regarding their victory.
“We’re so grateful to have played with such talented musicians and can’t thank everyone enough for their support,” said Sitris. “We’re very excited to record our live session with WSBF and to deliver our debut EP in the summer!”
While it was a battle, each band gave the audience a solid and enjoyable performance that helped showcase the musical talent and drive Clemson’s campus holds. 
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