On Saturday, April 15, W.D.O.M. and B.O.P. teamed up to cohost a new event at McPhail’s: a Battle of the Bands. Many other schools in the state have hosted these, so it was exciting to see Providence College generate enough on-campus talent to have one of their own. The bands on the roster were Freshman Year, Wave Goodbye, The Hopeless Romantics, Friday Life, The Grapes, and St. Joe and the Dorms.
Each band brought something special to the table. The amount of dedication and passion on display was truly heartwarming, as was the crowd’s reception. Many people came out to support their friends, highlighting how important audience members are to the live music experience.
Freshman Year went first. Their set consisted of “Cloud 9” by Beach Bunny, “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus, and “Can’t Stop” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. For this performance, the band was fronted by Christina Schwab ’25, and she did a terrific job. Wes Stephens ’25, the bass player, also got a chance to take lead vocals on “Can’t Stop.” Mason Wasserman ’25 and Ryan Peduto ’25 crushed it on guitar and drums, respectively, with Alonso Moreno ’25 showcasing his bass chops on “Can’t Stop.”
Following Freshman Year was Wave Goodbye. The lineup for this band was Jack Downey ’23 on vocals and guitar, Reid Keiper ’24 on guitar, Veronica Butler ’25 on bass, and Sean Smith ’24 on drums. They quickly blasted through three jangly originals written by Downey, which was exciting since they had never been played with a full band before.
The Hopeless Romantics went on third. Easily one of the quickest rising groups on campus, the quartet consists of Declan Henry ’24 on vocals and guitar, Reid Kieper ’24 on vocals and guitar, Colin McNamara ’25 on bass, and Sean Smith ’24 on drums. Starting with one of their most beloved originals, “Maybe We’re Not Meant to Be,” the band had people up on their feet. Even more people took to the floor when they busted out a cover of “Twist and Shout,” most famously done by The Beatles. Finally, the group showcased a newer original called “Why’d You Have to Lie to Me?” a tense indie jam that closed things out with a bang.
Originally, The Keegan Turner Band was supposed to perform next, but due to a last minute unavailability, Friday Life hopped on the bill around an hour in advance. The quickly assembled version of the group consisted of Jack Downey ’23 on vocals and guitar, the founder of the band back in 2017; Brendan Downey ’26 on keys, Colin McNamara ’25 on bass, and Griffin May ’24 on drums. With almost no prep time, the band launched into three originals, including fan favorite “Don’t Depend On Me.” The final song, “Young Adult,” featured Brendan unplugging his keyboard from the PA and allowing members of the audience to play it. This certainly caught people off guard!
The Grapes went on next. Their lineup consisted of Jack Wilmot ’24 on vocals, Ryan Peduto ’25 on guitar, Alex Rzehak ’23 on guitar, Ava Dobski ’25 on bass, and Brendan Greene ’23 on drums. With each performance, this group continues to get tighter, and that was on full display here. The first two songs they performed showcased their funkier side: “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder and “Brick House” by The Commodores. After this, they cranked things up for a smoky rendition of “All Along the Watchtower” in the vein of Jimi Hendrix. Peduto’s blistering solo did the legend justice.
Finally, St. Joe and the Dorms took the stage. Immediately after they plugged in and began playing, the crowd was on their feet and dancing. They kicked things off with “I Wanna be Sedated” by The Ramones before blasting right into “Fight For Your Right” by The Beastie Boys. Finally, they had the crowd singing along to their original “Sometimes I Think.” Griffin May ’24 (vocals, guitar) and Jack Downey ’23 (vocals, bass) hardly spent any time on the ground, while Cat Mazo ’19 laid down some tasty grooves on the kit. It was a spectacular end to a spectacular event.
After some deliberation, the judges (Father Justin Bolger O.P., Father Jordan Zajac O.P., and Father Simon Teller O.P.) came forward with their decision. The rankings: The Grapes and Freshman Year tied for third, St. Joe and the Dorms came in second, and The Hopeless Romantics took home first place. Big congratulations to them. Make sure to follow all these bands on social media and stay tuned regarding their activities going forward.