On Friday night, five talented bands battled for the chance to open for this year’s Mason Day headliner. From indie to rap/rock, the five gave their all and delivered a stellar show.
Walking into the ballroom on the top floor of The Hub (Sub II), students passed by tables offering giveaways. Posters, CDs and sample-size sticks of deodorant were available for students to grab while they jammed out to awesome tunes.
The Summer Floods kicked things off with some mellow but engaging indie rock. Longtime readers of Broadside might have recognized front man Ramy Zabarah, the former editor of the style section. Their second song of the evening “It’s a Hurricane!” was a highlight of the set. With a midlevel tempo and Zabarah’s vocals adding to the ambience of the moment, the entire crowd swayed and swooned for the remainder of their performance.
With each band only getting 20 minutes to perform, everyone had to bring their A game to win over the judges. As The Summer Floods playlist came to an end, the lights shifted and the crowd migrated to the other end of the room where The 6th Degree kicked things off.
Dreamy — that’s the best way to describe The 6th Degree’s music. Absent vocals, their powerful guitar riffs and controlled drums rocked the audience. Getting a crowd excited without a singer to act as a focal point is a difficult task, but The 6th Degree’s music did all the talking for them, and the audiences and judges liked what they heard. The 6th Degree placed second in the competition.
Atlas came on third, combining elements of ska, hardcore and more traditional rock. They were definitely the heaviest band of the evening.
“We just did coke with the Jewish fraternity,” said frontman E.J. Morgan before kicking off their set.
Atlas’s interaction with the audience was a first for the evening. While The Summer Floods and The 6th Degree encouraged the audience to get closer to the stage using the typical “We don’t bite” mantra, Atlas talked to the audience and even took a second to tell a joke. Their style and humor earned them third place.
Having seven people on stage at one time, Two Days Notice was the largest, most intricate band of the evening.
“We like to play the three R’s,” said frontman V. “Rap, Rock and Reggae.”
Immediately asking the audience to take part, Two Days Notice was out to steal the show. Their final song of the evening was a love letter to George Mason University, singing about pride and what it means to be a Patriot. V led an anthem chanting out “GMU” over and over, sending the crowd on to the last band highly energized.
Last to take the stage was Sub-Radio Standard. Not to take away from any of the other bands performing, but by the end of their first song, it was clear that they would be taking home top honors.
Sounding like a cross between The Fray and Jack’s Mannequin, Sub-Radio Standard had an extremely polished sound and a singer with the voice of an angel. Their last number, an anti-war anthem, had the entire crowd singing along by the end — a mark of a job well done.
As an added bonus, and to everyone’s surprise, the announcement of whom Sub-Radio Standard would be opening for was made: Hot Chelle Rae. Known for their hit-single “Tonight Tonight,” Hot Chelle Rae and Sub-Radio Standard will be taking the stage at Mason Day this year on April 27.