Bad Bad Stereo advanced to the championship round of the Crystal Bees’ battle of the bands. Above, lead singer Blake Avenue and guitarist Geoff Peters perform during the preliminary round on Feb. 13. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

Another week, another battle, another impressive triumph in Southington. On Thursday, Feb. 13, Bad Bad Stereo beat out four other bands and advanced to the championship round of Crystal Bees’ 2020 battle of the bands competition.

The New Haven-based band will battle Down the Hatch and the winner from this Thursday’s competition in the championship round of the  2020 Crystal Bee’s battle of the bands at the final event.

To reach the final competition, Bad Bad Stereo had to out-perform the second round competition, featuring Dumb Love, Rock Solid Alibi, Hard Luxury, and Retrofit. Bad Bad Stereo is fronted by Blake Avenue, a vivacious performer who enjoyed being on the stage as much as the crowd enjoyed listening to their four original tunes.

“For us it’s all about trying to have fun,” said Jeff Oddo, one of the group’s guitarists. “We feel like if you’re not having fun then it’s not worth it, so we just try to bring that vibe everywhere we go.”

The interactions between Avenue, Oddo, bass player Anthony Delcervo, guitarist Geoff Peters, and drummer Sachin Ramabhadran, were not only fun—they were filled with a child-like joy that seemed to increase with every song on their playlist—even as they brought the pace down a few notches at the finish of their 20-minute set.


The rockers’ musical influences knows no bounds, finding inspiration in everything from the tunes they grew up hearing, to miscellaneous opera songs overheard in passing.

“I really love a very heavy, funky bass line and a solid, driving drum,” said Avenue. “We definitely want to bring something fresh and kind of, like, something very vivacious and energetic, and we’re hoping to keep that alive and bring it to the stage next time.”

And even though Bad Bad Stereo captured the attention of the judging panel, the rockers were quick to express their admiration for their fellow musicians. Ramabhadran, a fan of rock band Stone Temple Pilots, said listening to STP’s tribute band, Dumb Love, was just as satisfying as listening to one of the original records. Peters even went so far as to say that Rock Solid Alibi “got robbed,” saying that he found them to be “really, really good.”

“I feel like Connecticut music overall might be underrated. Every time I’m out seeing an original local band or even a cover band, a tribute band, I mean, I’m blown away by the musicianship,” said Delcervo. “I’m happy to see it grow and to be a part of it.”

The competition continued with preliminary round three on Thursday, Feb. 20, as the groups Joetown, Bedrock, Collective Difference, Death Saddle Syndicate, and Diminishing Jim take the stage in the hopes of securing the final slot in the championship round.

The championship round will feature the three preliminary winners as well as an encore performance from last year’s winner, Remember September. Bad Bad Stereo will take on week one’s winner, Down the Hatch, and the winner from this week’s competition in a winner-take-all battle of the bands on Thursday, Feb. 27 at Crystal Bees at 240 Spring Street in Southington.

The final competition will begin at 7 p.m.

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