PHOTOS: WZZO’s 28th Annual Backyard Bands Competition

Wednesday night was a banner night for our local music scene.

For the 28th year, WZZO hosted its Backyard Bands competition. Located at the RCN Farmerama stage at the Great Allentown Fair, the event featured five local bands — Monoceros, September Silence, The Beautiful Distortion, Another Day Dawns, and Acoustic Kitty Project — who completely rocked the house with the goal of winning more than $6,500 in prizes.

First up was Monoceros, a hard rock three-piece whom we hadn’t covered before. I’m sorry that we waited so long — the band played four songs and provided an emphatic  opening statement for the night of rock to come.

Next up was September Silence, who kept the crowd hot with four original tracks of their own. The upstart rockers were making their debut appearance at Backyard Bands, and proved that they’ve come along way in a short period of time for good reason.

The Beautiful Distortion was up next, arriving with purpose, energy, and versatility. The six-piece traded lead vocals, featured tight instrumental work, and set a distinct mood with each of its songs.

Speaking of hitting the stage with purpose, it was clear — as it always is — that Another Day Dawns’ hit with the purpose of using their 20 minutes to rock the crowd as hard as possible. They succeeded in that mission, bringing their youthful energy through in their performance, with frontman Dakota McGeehan leading the way with his charisma and distinct voice.

There was still one more act to hit the stage before the night was done, and it was Carter Lansing’s band, Acoustic Kitty Project. AKP offered a change of pace from the rest of the evening’s bands, showcasing their crisp, catchy country rock offerings. The band’s set was highlighted in particular by the incredible playing of keyboardist Dan DeChellis, who can do anything you ask him to when he has his instrument at his disposal.

In the end, The Beautiful Distortion — who had previously made the finals in 2012, only to lose — came away with top honors, while Another Day Dawns wrapped up a great month of August as the runners-up.

Still, the event was ultimately not about wins, losses, or competition. It was about some of our scene’s best and brightest acts coming together to showcase their abilities. All five bands were entirely gracious and congratulatory toward one another after the show, and there was a sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing that everyone gave their best performance.

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