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Battle of the Underage Underground: The kids are alright

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Battle of the Underage Underground / First Avenue / June 3, 2007 Text by Christopher Matthew Jensen | Photos by Daniel Corrigan

An annual event boasting some of the best high school-aged talent in the metro, Radio K's Battle of the Underage Underground gave seven musical acts a chance to take First Avenue's Mainroom by hellstorm in front of a mostly exuberant crowd comprised of guestlisted boosters, and a panel of musicians, critics and Radio K staffers.

The characteristically wild Brother and Sister (Michael and Katie Gaughan) hosted the evening's festivities, announcing each band and helping to keep the show's momentum as First Avenue's crack stage crew had each band on within ten minutes of each other.

Battling it out for prizes that included a $2000 recording contract with local label Say Rah Records for the winning band, each act was allotted a fifteen minute window of stage time to win over the audience and wow the judges.

Third place finisher Nap Nap destroyed the crowd with an hellacious performance of knob-twiddling rock curdled by dissonant noise and fueled by youthful spontaneity. Each band member switched instruments multiple times throughout the set, a feat that only contributed to their already unpredictable sound.

Angel Darcourt, the evening's lone hip-hop entry placed second overall with an enigmatic showing of socially conscious bi-lingual hip-hop and spoken word. Flanked by a couple of smooth voiced backup singers the young MC spat out smart rhymes over the booming production of Benzilla and the St. Paul Kings.

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In the end, it was the colossal wallop of Rivet's retro 80's brand metal that won the judges over. Sounding something like early Metallica (and very much looking the part), Rivet rocked harder than any other act on the bill. Both guitarists threw down with fret melting solos, and all four members thrashed like their necks were made of rubber.

Text by Christopher Matthew Jensen | Photos by Daniel Corrigan