I had the extreme honor of being a judges this past Saturday at the last semifinal round in this year’s EMP’s Sound Off!.
I knew I had my work cut out for me. Every Sound Off! show I’ve seen over the last 15 years has featured one astounding young band after another. After all, bands like Kithkin, Schoolyard Heroes, Idiot Pilot, SEACATS and The Lonely Forest are Sound Off! alums.
The line-up this past Saturday (February 26, 2016) consisted of:
- Hello, I’m Sorry – This Bellingham band were sweet indie-pop with a Saddle Creek edge that will definitely be on my end of the year mixtape. I can’t wait to dig into their whole cd.
- Paralexis – The Lake Steven’s trio made friendly electro-pop that hit all ends of the spectrum.
- LEE (runner-up) – Seattle’s LEE is going to do big things. Her R&B songs were mature and commanding, her stage presence was astounding and cool.
- Dre’zy and Too Smoove (winner) – The Renton hip-hop mayhem that is Dre-zy and Too Smoove was a near impossible act to follow. There are 10 in this band (if I counted correctly), each filling the stage with an astonishing swagger and energy. There was a saxophone, keyboard, drums, and even a bass solo mid-set.
Each band was my favorite for a different reason.
This coming Saturday is the Sound Off! FINALS show in which the winning performers from each of the last three weeks’ semifinals and one wild card winner compete for the title of Sound Off! 2016 grand prize.
The finals line-up this Saturday, March 5, 2016 will consist of:
- COSMOS (Semifinals #1 winner)
- Paris Alexa (Semifinals #2 winner)
- Dre’zy and Too Smoove (Semifinals #3 winner)
- Animal Camera (wild card winner)
Although I missed her semifinals performance, I’m most interested in seeing Paris Alexa’s set. Multiple people have told me how they are still astounded by her performance.
Considering the caliber of the bands I saw last weekend, I’m expecting I’ll be saying the same thing about all the bands competing after this Saturday’s finals show.
Top photo: Dre’zy and Too Smoove at EMP’s Sound Off! on 2/27/16 – amazing photo courtesy EMP staff.