There can only be one. Five bands came to compete in George Mason University’s musical gauntlet, but only one was chosen. Last Thursday, House of Echo, Rites of Ash, I Am the Kaleidoscope, Find the Focus and The Automatics shared two dueling stages in the Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall. The rules were plain and simple. The last band standing would be promised a gig to musical prominence.
Plugged in and tuned up, the feuding bands met on Mason’s campus to determine who would be opening up for Cobra Starship on Mason Day. In the end, I Am the Kaleidoscope was hailed the victor by three judges.
The venue was lacking in an attending audience but the bands still performed like they had sold out The Garden. All the bands proved they had the necessary energy to keep up with a crowd as large as Mason Day’s. I Am the Kaleidoscope’s presence though was the only one that wasn’t at risk of being eclipsed by an already well-known band like Cobra Starship.
Find the Focus, the acoustic based duo of Mason sophomores Spencer Wolf and Mark Cruz, opened up the event while late attendees were still trickling in. The subtle, chord progressing tunes the band had to offer were welcomed by some of their more familiar fans but left others unsatisfied. Their unplugged set was drowned out by the heavier performances of the four other rivaling bands.
The Automatics, headed by George Mason’s own Danny Oelkers, followed The Focus’ performance. Armed with the power of an electric guitar and the quick fret working of guitarist Janet Jelena, The Automatics set the tone for the rest of the night. Danny Oelkers was a crowd favorite as the front man jumped around the stage.
Winners of the event I Am the Kaleidoscope was next. The synergy between front man and lead singer Khalid Gharzai and guitarist Eddie Fuentes resonated the presences of power duo Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta.
Fuentes danced around wildly