Diablo’s Rock the Roof battle of the bands finale shook up the Strip with diverse sounds and an unexpected outcome last Friday night. Nearly eight months after the competition began, 64 bands dwindled to four hopefuls competing for $10,000 cash and $5,000 worth of studio time. Five industry judges had the tough task of deciding among local acts Black Beans N Hippie Liver, The Lazystars, Rhyme N Rhythm (RNR) and Fall in Vain. The crowd reflected the stylistic variety: Metalheads thrashed next to glammed-up divas sipping cocktails. They all appeared to enjoy the crisp November night on the Mexican cantina’s balcony.
Black Beans, an energetic three-piece, kicked off the night, hopping between funk and gypsy punk and Primus-y fusion. The Lazystars followed with a slick, indie-pop approach (think: Coldplay meets Kasabian) that worked their many fans into a deafening frenzy. Frontman Dave Hawkins leaned into the crowd to grasp the hands of a few hungry fans. RNR, the event’s second-place finisher two years running, took the stage third hoping for a breakthrough. Merging hip-hop with rock, the band members dropped heavy beats in contrast with their collegiate clothes. Fall in Vain went on last, and by the time the metal band finished its set, the crowd had thinned.
And then, the big announcement: first place to Fall in Vain. RNR took second yet again. “You guys did this,” Fall in Vain vocalist Chase Grijalva told his winning band’s fans. “Usually these types of things aren’t won by heavier bands,” bassist Tim Feeley added.
Feeley wasn’t the only one surprised by the outcome. The Lazystars, who received the night’s loudest crowd reaction, finished last. Drummer Brian Havens shrugged off the official results. “We already won,” he said. “Our fans came out in amazing numbers, and we beat out a lot of other versatile bands [to get here].”