Add together two parts guitar, one part percussion, one part bass, one part vocals, and one part bagpipes and you’ll get a competition-winning performance—just ask the members of Joetown, the rock n’ roll band that advanced to the final round of Crystal Bees’ 2020 battle of the bands competition, after stealing the show on Thursday, Feb. 20.
“Of all the weeks, this was definitely the hardest week to judge,” said Maria Schwerdtle, one of the judges and the owner of Minds Eye Entertainment. “Every single band that took the stage tonight was incredible. Each one of you brought something different up here, and we all loved something about each of you which is what made it really difficult to add this up.”
Last Thursday was a night of solid rock n’ roll spanning the decades with songs such as “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas and “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. The lineup featured five bands—Joetown, Bedrock, Collective Difference, Taking Back Autumn, and Death Saddle Syndicate—who all brought something unique and different to each performance.
Joetown is fronted by Joe Delaney, who has been making music for most of his life. Together with band mates Kerry Gollarney, Darrin Yardley, and Jose Lopez, the group opened the competition with a bang, and closed their performance with an unmatched punch.
“I’m a child of heavy classic rock so you know, ACDC, Deep Purple, the first four Van Halen records but not after, Black Sabbath, stuff like that,” said Delaney. “I’m a vinyl album rock radio guy, that’s really what it is.”
From the moment Joetown took the stage there was a surge of energy that stemmed from Delaney’s interactions with the crowd. And rounding out the 20 minute set was a stellar solo from Gollarney on the bagpipes.
“I have got be honest with you, you got us right from the beginning,” said Schwerdtle as she congratulated the winners. “Your performance was phenomenal, your stage presence was great, you got a crowd engaged that wasn’t engaged at all, and to start off the night it was really very awesome.”
Delaney said the group will bring much of the same to the championship round on Thursday, Feb. 27, as they square up against week one winner Down the Hatch and week two winner Bad Bad Stereo. Crystal Bees 2020 battle of the bands—sponsored by Guitar Center of Southington, Budweiser, and Stonehenge Sound—concluded on Thursday, as the three preliminary winners faced off in a winner-take-all battle.
“Support live music because that’s what it’s all about. Rock n’ roll live music, I think, is America’s greatest export, so we should support it, you know,” said Delaney. “A DJ or the music pumped through a bunch of speakers in the ceiling does not give you the life enhancing effect of people who are passionate playing music, so support music in general, and thank you for doing it tonight.”
The Crystal Bees battle of the bands championship round will begin at 7 p.m., on Thursday, Feb. 27, at Crystal Bees, 240 Spring St. in Southington.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at Entertainment@PlainvilleObserver.com.
Photos by JANELLE MORELLI