Five local bands went head to head in Saturday night’s “Battle of the Bands” hosted by A.S. Program Board at the UCSB Hub this past Saturday. Boombox Orchestra took home first prize and will be opening at this year’s Extravaganza. Second prize, a live show in Storke Plaza, was awarded to Pondera for generating the most fans at the show.

The lineup opened with the seven-piece hardcore metal band Nekrogoblikon. Amid lead singer Alex Duddy’s window-shattering screams, the band produced head-banging beats and thrashing guitar solos. Second in line, quintet Ambidextrous got the crowd grooving with their classic rock ‘n’ roll-meets-funky jazz sound. Lead singer Michelle Williams’ vocals were just as powerful as they were soulful. Fans put down their beers and chanted in excitement when the third, eagerly-awaited band Pondera took center stage. Patrick Bybee’s melodious lead vocals resemble those of ambient rock singer Brandon Boyd of Incubus. The music alone evokes the feelings of a warm summer afternoon at the beach spent sipping on an ice-cold brew and passing around a fatty. Pondera’s band members possess an enthusiastic spirit and a natural stage presence that clearly resonated with the audience. With their catchy original compositions, Pondera may be on their way to something big, despite not winning first prize.

The winning band Boombox Orchestra performed fourth in the line up. Decked out in flamboyant attire, these confident and talented musicians awed the crowd and the judges. In addition to the normal band setup, Boombox Orchestra included in their performance a harp, a sitar, a trumpet, hand drums, and a female backup vocalist. Fronted by Patrick Male’s hyperspeed flows, this large melting pot of musical instruments amalgamated into what band member Pete Cerenzio deems “funkalicious.” As winner of the “Battle of the Bands,” Boombox Orchestra will play at Extravaganza this year. The final band to perform was Castro, a rap-rock mix with strong beats and smooth flows. Castro’s performance was a harmonious mixture of punchy rap solos and bluesy hooks.

In the end, Battle of the Bands 2007 was a great success. Those prepared to take on the funk before Extravaganza can check out the victors at the upcoming Earth Day festival in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park.