Battle of the Boroughs: Bronx Edition

Last night, WNYC and WQXR sponsored the fourth annual Battle of the Boroughs competition at The Greene Space. To sum it up, Battle of the Boroughs gathers the best of the best from each borough and audience members (and the public) get to vote for who they’d like to represent their borough at the Ultimate Battle in June.

The musicians representing the Bronx were: Blue Meadow, Corky Has a Band, I am B 13, Yurby, Al-Lisha Burns, Bill Santen, Flow Freequan, Captains of Industry, Tee Dot Ohh and Liya Marie, Emily Angell, marie-claire, and Tyrone-Birkett/Emancipation.

The event was hosted by Terrance McKnight and the night’s commentators were

Though I’d love to give you a full review on each and every act (they were all really great. I’m excited to find out the finalists on Monday!), I don’t think you’re in the mood to read some long tome on the internet. Below are the groups that stood out to me the most:

Blue Meadow

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Blue Meadow was  the first group to perform. They began slowly coming to life as each member began to play his instrument. By coming to life, I mean that they were literally slumped over before and sprang up when one of their band members gestured to them. One of the coolest things I noticed about the band is that all of the members sing. The drummer was actually the first person to begin singing, so that was pretty awesome. They have a smooth, rhythmic rock thing going out, kind of like Maroon 5, but with a little more soulfulness. I could definitely see me buying their music.

Corky Has a Band

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While live tweeting the battle, I said, “Corky Has a Band Just Did Unimaginable Things to a Piano Just Now” and I was not lying. Described as hyper-vaudevillian, their music is as surprising as it is carefully orchestrated. The duo incorporates the entire instrument into their performance in a purposeful discordant harmony.  And there was a kazoo.  Who can play a kazoo and make it work in 2013? Probably only Sergeant Whiskers and Professor Tickles.

I am B 13

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He had me when he said, ” This is dedicated to the rappers who rapped about nonsense.” YES.  Commentator Helga Davis (love her)  said it perfectly after I am B 13’s performance when she said, “I can tell you read.” Educated rap is a beautiful thing. It’s so refreshing to hear multisyllabic words in a rap song. He said ‘pantomime,’ you guys. Plus, there’s just something really endearing about a rapper with braces who says lines like, ” If you got a problem with me, go to a mathematician.”

Captains of Industry 

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Captains of Industry utilized a recording someone had made on a seemingly ordinary day in Germany. or Austria. The base of their completely improvised performance was a soundtrack of cars honking, dogs barking, and people walking. The drummer used some sort of plastic tubes instead of drum sticks, which was very cool because you could hear the sound echoing through them. It kind of reminded me of Australian dj group, The Avalanches.

Check out some photos of the other musicians:

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