by Heather Lovejoy
Bragging rights go to the pop-punk quartet Palm Trees & Power Lines this year. On Saturday, they won the eighth annual Teen Battle of the Bands at the Main Library in Downtown Jacksonville.
It’s always refreshing to see young talent taking chances. Even better, it’s great to see parents and a community supporting and encouraging them. As a volunteer judge, I had the pleasure of a front-row seat to both. I was joined by three other judges, and after watching four bands from Northeast Florida play 15-minute sets, we didn’t have an easy task.
Palm Trees & Power Lines’ energetic stage antics and crowd-pleasing interaction landed them on top. Singer and guitarist Josh Cravey said the band members, ages 16 to 18, are from Jacksonville but live in Callahan. Shafer Tasso plays lead guitar, Casey Johnson plays drums and Kyle Bailey plays bass. It was their three-year anniversary as a band, and they had competed in the library’s teen battle before. So despite losing points for technical difficulties (Tasso broke a string and had to run backstage for his back-up guitar), their experience gave them an edge of confidence and ease, as well as a well-developed sense of band image and direction.
Second place went to Eviction, a group of strong competitors from Mandarin who play a mix of heavy metal and hard rock. They were tailed closely by newcomers Jake Calhoun & the Soul Connection and Joker’s Wild.
Palm Trees & Power Lines chose the grand prize of a $200 gift card to the Music & Arts retail store in Mandarin over a three-hour recording session at Sunburst Studios, which went to Eviction. That’s because Palm Trees & Power Lines is already preparing to release their first EP, Cravey said. “ Diversity,” featuring three original songs recorded locally at Platinum Sound, will be released this summer. They perform regularly around town, and past gigs have been at venues such as the Murray Hill Theatre, Jack Rabbits, Brewster’s Roc Bar and Freebird Live. They don’t have any dates set right now, but watch palmtreespowerlines.tumblr.com for upcoming show dates and news of the EP.
Local Teen Bands Compete
by Heather Lovejoy