Desolation Row, a four-member band from Winnebago and Stillman Valley, claimed the top prize in Hope and Anchor’s Battle of the Bands competition, which concluded April 21.
Desolation Row is composed of Alex Spors, 18, lead guitar and vocals, Winnebago; Jarrett Finley, 18, guitar and vocals, Winnebago; Jared Hoey, 16, drums, Stillman Valley; Jake Hoey, 15, bass, Stillman Valley. Alex, Jared and Jake are cousins. Alex and Jarrett have been schoolmates since first grade.
The Battle of the Bands contest was held each Thursday night from Feb. 10 through April 21 at Hope and Anchor, 5040 N. Second St., Loves Park.
Two bands performed each week. One band set up on the dance floor and played at 9 p.m., while the second set up on the stage and started at 11 p.m. The set was a minimum of 45 minutes with any combination of originals or covers.
Each band was responsible for its own sound equipment. They had a bucket to hold the votes of the patrons, who were given voting slips to put in the bucket with their favorite band’s name. Voting results were posted each week in the bar. The top three bands with the highest number of votes by 1 a.m., April 15, were invited back to compete in the final round April 21. The most votes at the end of the evening determined the winning band with a prize of $1,000. Previous votes were not included in the final night; only new votes counted.
The top three bands in the finals were: 5 Down, Never Whas and Desolation Row.
Almost every band competing was composed of members two and three times older than the members of Desolation Row, but their combination of ’80s, ’90s and newer music, and several originals, put them on top.
Desolation Row has played in the area for about six months and has opened for one of Rockford’s favorite bands, The Edge. They impressed the audience enough that they received several booking offers after winning the contest.
The band 5 Down was very gracious and supportive of the kids winning, and the entire audience was amazed that a group of young guys could go up against more established bands and put on such a great show.
From the May 18-24, 2011 issue