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Casual Plaid wins 13th annual JCC Battle of the Bands

Bob Staffa (second from left), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, introduces 2015 Battle of the Bands winner Casual Plaid from Marcellus High School before the start of their set. The band's members, pictured from left are, Mike Clark, keyboard; Aaron Fern, guitar; Sean King, banjo; and Erica Ylitalo, mandolin.
Casual Plaid kicks off their Battle of the Bands set. Pictured, from left, is Mike Clark, Aaron Fern, Sean King and Erica Ylitalo.
Casual Plaid members (L-R) Sean King and Erica Ylitalo.
Casual Plaid members (L-R) Aaron Fern, Sean King and Erica Ylitalo.
Casual Plaid's Erica Ylitalo.
From left, Casual Plaid's Mike Clark, Aaron Fern and Sean King.
A view of the crowd watching Casual Plaid jam.
Casual Plaid • Marcellus High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
Casual Plaid band members celebrate winning the 2015 Battle of the Bands upon hearing the announcement from 95X's Bob Staffa (far right).
From left, Mick Hagan, the JCC's director of Children & Teen Services, presents Casual Plaid with their prizes for winning the Battle of the Bands.
From left, Mick Hagan, the JCC's director of Children & Teen Services, along with Casual Plaid band members Mike Clark, Erica Ylitalo, Aaron Fern and Sean King.
Casual Plaid band members having a little fun with their winnings.
More posing fun for the 2015 Battle of the Bands winners.
A little ping pong and pool action taking place during the Battle of the Bands concert.
Bob Staffa (far right), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, introduces the first band that played, From Dusk Til' Dawn from Henninger High School.
Henninger High School's From Dusk Til' Dawn kicks off their rockin' Battle of the Bands set. Pictured, from left, is Michael Kisselstein, guitar; Alton Knight, drums; Tyler Hewitt, lead vocals; and Joe Moore, bass guitar.
L-R: From Dusk Til' Dawn's Michael Kisselstein and Alton Knight.
From Dusk Til' Dawn • Henninger High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
L-R: From Dusk Til' Dawn's Alton Knight and Joe Moore.
From Dusk Til' Dawn rocking The SPOT.
A view of the crowd checking out From Dusk Til' Dawn's set.
We had a great turnout at this year's Battle of the Bands!
From Dusk Til' Dawn • Henninger High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
Bob Staffa (far right), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, gets ready to introduce the second band to play, The Cuddle Fish from Onondaga High School.
The Cuddle Fish, from Onondaga High School, kick off their set. Pictured, from left, is Ryan Cass, keyboard; Noah Dardaris, drums; Joe Russo, horn; Garritt Peck, bass guitar; and Max Marcy, lead guitar.
L-R: The Cuddle Fish's Ryan Cass and Noah Dardaris.
The Cuddle Fish • Onondaga High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
L-R: The Cuddle Fish's Joe Russo gets some props from bandmate Garritt Peck as guitarist Max Marcy looks on.
L-R: The Cuddle Fish's Noah Dardaris and Joe Russo.
The Cuddle Fish's many fans packed the house to watch the band play.
The Cuddle Fish • Onondaga High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
Battle of the Bands judges, seated at the table, react to a song by The Cuddle Fish. The judges, pictured from left, are Katrina Tulloch, entertainment reporter for The Post-Standard; Ryan Gorham, Gorham Brothers Music; Bob Staffa, 95X radio; and Andrew Marotta and Chrissy Gerace from last year's winning band Home Court Advantage.
Bob Staffa (far right), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, reminds the crowd that The SPOT's snack bar is open before introducing the night's third band, The Outer Loop from West Genesee High School. Pictured are the band's members, from left, Brendan McMahon, lead guitar; Jackson Powell, lead vocals; Nate Conroy, bass guitar; and Mark Dellefave, drums (seated behind Conroy). Not pictured is Kamel Awayda, keyboard.
West Genesee High School's The Outer Loop gets their set underway. L-R: Brendan McMahon, Jackson Powell, Nate Conroy, Mark Dellefave and Kamel Awayda.
Pictured, from left, is The Outer Loop's Brendan McMahon and Mark Dellefave.
The Outer Loop • West Genesee High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
A view of the hundreds of people in attendance watching The Outer Loop rock out.
Pictured in the foreground are the Battle of the Bands judges staying focused on The Outer Loop's performance. From left is Katrina Tulloch, entertainment reporter for The Post-Standard; Ryan Gorham, Gorham Brothers Music; Bob Staffa, 95X radio; and Andrew Marotta and Chrissy Gerace from last year's winning band Home Court Advantage.
L-R: The Outer Loop's Brendan McMahon, Mark Dellefave and Nate Conroy.
The Outer Loop's lead guitarist Brendan McMahon.
The Outer Loop • West Genesee High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
Introducing the fourth band to play, Dan and the Pussykatz from Jamesville-DeWitt High School, is 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, Bob Staffa (second from right). Pictured are the band's members, from left, Paddy Hagan, tambourine; Zach Gentile, guitar; Brady Wing, vocals; Joe Murphy, vocals; and Matt Murad, guitar. Not pictured is Ben Wipper, keyboard, and Dan Chamberlin, drums.
Dan and the Pussykatz from Jamesville-DeWitt High School get their set going during the Battle of the Bands. Pictured, from left, is Ben Wipper, Dan Chamberlin, Zach Gentile, Brady Wing, Paddy Hagan, Joe Murphy and Matt Murad.
From left, Dan and the Pussykatz's Ben Wipper and Dan Chamberlin.
The Battle of the Bands judges (seated at the table) closely watch Dan and the Pussykatz perform.
Dan and the Pussykatz rockin' The SPOT.
Dan and the Pussykatz • Jamesville-DeWitt High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
Dan and the Pussykatz • Jamesville-DeWitt High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
Dan and the Pussykatz • Jamesville-DeWitt High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
Pictured, from left, is Brady Wing, Joe Murphy and Matt Murad of Dan and the Pussykatz.
Bob Staffa (second from right), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, introduces the K.G. Shields Band from Fayetteville-Manlius High School, the night's final act. Pictured are the band's members, from left, Anna Muench, bass guitar; Katie Hanover, keyboard; John Hanover, drums; and Ryan Ondocin, lead guitar.
The K.G. Shields Band from Fayetteville-Manlius High School kick their set into high gear. Pictured, from left, is Anna Muench, Katie Hanover, John Hanover and Ryan Ondocin.
L-R: The K.G. Shields Band's Anna Muench, Katie Hanover and John Hanover.
K.G. Shields Band • Fayetteville-Manlius High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
K.G. Shields Band • Fayetteville-Manlius High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
L-R: The K.G. Shields Band's John Hanover and sister Katie Hanover.
K.G. Shields Band • Fayetteville-Manlius High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands
Lead guitarist Ryan Ondocin of the K.G. Shields Band.
K.G. Shields Band • Fayetteville-Manlius High School • 2015 Battle of the Bands

Content

January 22, 2015

It was a very plaid kind of evening at this year’s JCC Battle of the Bands. Progressive roots-rock bluegrass band Casual Plaid from Marcellus High School won the JCC’s 13th annual jam fest on Saturday, Jan. 17. The concert, held at The Syracuse Project 4 Our Teens (SPOT), the JCC's teen center in ShoppingTown Mall, DeWitt, drew over 250 people to see six high school bands from across Onondaga County compete.

“This year’s concert was awesome and filled with so much fun, high-energy music,” said Mick Hagan, JCC’s director of Children and Teen Services. “All of the bands played really well and many performed their own original songs. They’re all very talented, and to think that they’re still in high school is pretty incredible. Many thanks to the bands, judges and everyone who came and rocked out with us.”

From the opening hard-driving chords of From Dusk Til’ Dawn from Henninger High School, the night kicked off on a high-energy note. Taking the stage next was Onondaga High School’s The Cuddle Fish who were dressed sharp and sounded just as polished in front of their fan contingent—the largest of all the bands and many of whom brought fan signs. West Genesee High School product The Outer Loop followed with their heavy, melodic style complemented by the dancing and fancy footwork of lead singer Jackson Powell. Next up was Dan and the Pussykatz from Jamesville-DeWitt High School who rocked the most flashy and theatrical performance which culminated in smashing a guitar on stage. The evening’s darlings Casual Plaid then took the stage and played all their own original tunes with enthusiasm and confidence before a loud and rowdy fan base. Closing the show was Fayetteville-Manlius High School’s K.G. Shields Band who kept the crowd going with their upbeat set highlighted by guitarist Ryan Ondocin’s wailing guitar licks.

Influenced by bands like The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, Casual Plaid’s sound was unlike that of the other bands. Yet their modern and edgy bluegrass tunes rocked The SPOT and delighted the crowd. Their proficient performance made it clear that there’s good chemistry between the band’s members. Not surprisingly, they’re all best friends. Plus, the band has been around for awhile. Band members Aaron Fern, guitar; Erica Ylitalo, mandolin; and Sean King, banjo, have been playing together for the past three years. Mike Clark, keyboard, joined the band a couple of months ago.

Being such a close-knit group, Casual Plaid’s members couldn’t help but have a good time at the show. “It was awesome,” said Fern after winning the Battle of the Bands. “This was so great and so much fun.”

In addition to bragging rights, Casual Plaid received a $200 cash prize, a prize pack from Gorham Brothers Music and eight hours of studio recording session time courtesy of More Sound Recording Studio of Syracuse.

This year’s Battle of the Bands judges were Ryan Gorham, Gorham Brothers Music, Syracuse; Katrina Tulloch, entertainment reporter for The Post-Standard; Bob Staffa, 95X radio; and Andrew Marotta and Chrissy Gerace from last year's winning band Home Court Advantage. For every high school student admission, the JCC donated $1 to his or her school district’s music department.

“The Battle of the Bands is a great thing that the JCC does for local teenagers,” said 95X’s Staffa. “There should be more things like this in the community for teens.”

For more information about the JCC Battle of the Bands or getting involved with teen programming at The SPOT, contact Erin Hart at 315-445-2040, ext. 133, or ehart@jccsyr.org.

 

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