Quick Mount PV and Creotecc: Solar Battle of the Bands: Round 3!

The germ of the idea for the Solar Battle of the Bands first came to Johan “Respect the Roof” Alfsen in 2010. After booking a San Francisco gig for his band, Wave Array, that coincided with Intersolar, Alfsen discovered that he was not the only solar professional with a passion for music. He subsequently reached out to industry colleagues to explore options for organizing a networking event featuring live music.

Together with Christie “Rise & Shine” McCarthy, Alfsen founded and produced the first-ever Solar Battle of the Bands (SBOB) in 2011, which is now held annually on the Wednesday of Intersolar NA. Decidedly under the radar in its first year, the SBOB was nevertheless a huge success, blowing the doors off a 500-person–capacity venue. In 2012, the event moved to the capacious (1,200-person capacity) and stylish Mezzanine, a San Francisco venue housed in a historic two-story warehouse, featuring a full bar, a large stage and—most importantly—a professional sound reinforcement system.

The first band to take the stage at the 2013 SBOB was a veteran act, The Voltaics, representing SMA America. Alternately fronted by blues pianist Warren Davis and vocalist Andrea Stapp Holland, The Voltaics leaned heavily on the classic rock genre: “Ain’t Messin’ Round” (Gary Clark Jr.), “Run To You” (Bryan Adams), “Rumor Has It” (Adele), “Gimme All Your Lovin’” (ZZ Top) and “Photograph” (Def Leppard).

The second set featured newcomers Reverend Ray & the Everlasting Incentives representing South Bend, Indiana–based Inovateus Solar. Dressed for success, the rookie act professionally executed a diverse set list: “Taking Care of Business” (Bachman Turner Overdrive), “Fire” (Jimi Hendrix), “Bust a Move” (Young MC) and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (The Rolling Stones).

The third act was The Soulmetrics, representing SolarCity. Winners of the inaugural SBOB competition and hungry to reclaim the title, The Soulmetrics presented a popular and up-to-date set list: “Lonely Boy” (The Black Keys), “Little Talks” (Of Monsters and Men), “The Edge of Glory” (Lady Gaga), “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” (Weezer) and “Little Lion Man” (Mumford & Sons).

The winners of SBOB Round 3 by audience vote, The Killa Watts, representing Sungevity, took the stage fourth. Showcasing the talents of Colleen “Amazing Pipes” George and Jeff “Slappa da Bass” Cleland—not to mention a five-piece horn section—The Killa Watts aced a funky, butt-bouncing set that was part Motown, part Memphis, part Super Freak and two parts San Francisco Soul: “Dance to the Music” (Sly and the Family Stone), “I Want You Back” (The Jackson 5), “Rock Steady” (Aretha Franklin), “Give It To Me Baby” (Rick James) and “Thank You” (Sly and the Family Stone).

Defending champions Zep the Band closed the show with their patented Zep Groove. Featuring the competition’s only eight-string fan-fret guitar, Zep Solar’s house band put its signature touch on an eclectic set: “Fire” (Jimi Hendrix), “Walking on the Moon” (The Police), “Chameleon” (Herbie Hancock) > “Good Foot” (James Brown) and “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (a funk arrangement including pieces from Bob Dylan and Red Hot Chili Peppers).

“A lot of bands like to fight; it’s in their nature. And when we fight nature, we’re fighting ourselves. That’s why nature demands the Solar Battle of the Bands, man.”

—Governor Jerry Brown* 

*yeah, this is an intentional misappropriation

Overview

LEAD DESIGNER: Johan Alfsen, director of training, Quick Mount PV, quickmountpv.com; see also christiemccarthy.com

CO-PRODUCER: Christie McCarthy, director of marketing, Creotecc, creotecc.us; also christiemccarthy.com

TERRAWATT SPONSOR: Motech Industries

MEGAWATT SPONSORS: AEE Solar, Burndy, Inovateus Solar, SMA America, SunEarth

DATE COMMISSIONED: July 10, 2013

LOCATION: Mezzanine, San Francisco, CA, 37.8°N

SOLAR RESOURCE: Five bands with special amps that go up to 11

The Champions

THE KILLA WATTS (SUNGEVITY):

Andrew Adelman – drums
Chris Connolly – vocals
Colleen George – vocals
Fernando Felix – congas, percussion
Jeff Cleland – bass
Joss Jaffe – guitar
Kelcey Gavar – vocals
Krystian Muroya – trumpet
Misha Balmer – baritone sax
Noah Ginsburg – keyboards
Samuel Hernandez – trombone
Stephanie Smith – flute
Travis Richardson – alto sax
Wyatt Roy – tenor sax

The Contenders

THE VOLTAICS (SMA America):
Andrea Stapp Holland – vocals
Brandi Leathers – vocals
Jurgen Krehnke – guitar
Roy Dynger – bass
Warren Davis – keyboard, vocals
Will Weisbecker – drums
Zhimmithee Banks – vocals

REV. RAY & THE EVERLASTING INCENTIVES (INOVATEUS SOLAR):
Connor O’Sullivan – bass
Elliott Peck – acoustic guitar, vocals
Miki Mihailovic – guitar, vocals
Nathan Vogel – cowbell
Nick Kovach – harmonica, vocals
T.J. Kanczuzewski – keyboards, vocals
Tyler Kanczuzewski – drums

THE SOULMETRICS (SOLARCITY):
Brian Cilenti – guitar, vocals
Cameron Brigham – bass
Carl Moren – keyboard, trombone
Katherine Van Zalen – vocals, guitar
Lizzie Caldwell – tenor sax
Nate Walker – vocals, guitar
Nick Duffy – drums
Rodrigo Calvo-Leni – trumpet

ZEP THE BAND (ZEP SOLAR):
Christina Manansala – vocals
Daniel East – vocals
Daniel Flanigan – guitar, ukulele, vocals
David Therien – drums
Jack West – custom guitar, vocals
Liz Mead – vocals
Mike Miskovsky – guitar, bass, vocals
River Broussard – guitar, vocals
Sarah Hill – vocals

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