This year’s BOBfest was a bittersweet occasion for Unison guitarist Adam Johnson.
The Charter High School graduate played BOBfest with the rest of his synth-driven rock band knowing it was going to be his last public show – at least until Christmas – as Johnson is heading to Colorado to attend the U. S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Saturday was all the more memorable since Unison squeaked by 2006 RAWK Final Four winners Vax Lavala (formerly Big Wang Theory) for Best Band in the popular high school band battle.
As Johnson exits and the rest of Unison – lead singer and keyboardist Branden “BC” Cate, bassist Luke Emerson, drummer Tim Kyker – spreads out to different colleges, things were just getting good. They recently released a new album and were just starting to get some paying gigs.
“I’m a little sad to leave. It seems like we’re getting a lot more popular as I’m leaving,” Johnson said.
Despite bassist Luke Emerson playing with a broken index finger and a bloody middle finger, Unison pulled off the highest score from judges, with Vax Lavala close behind and The Electrostatics placing third. Unison wins a recording package with College Road Recording in addition to various other prizes and high profile gigs, including Pig Out in the Park and First Night Spokane. For Years Blue, which won Zumiez Couch Tour, will play at the Northtown Mall store on July 8.
The crowd of bands’ peers, parents and siblings at the Clocktower Meadow thickened and clouds thinned as the all-day battle progressed.
But it was grinding metal band Catacomb that drew the biggest crowd to the stage – many of them wearing Catacomb’s black T-shirts with a white skull – and won the People’s Choice award.
John Aguirre saw Catacomb play a band battle at Fat Tuesday’s last week and wanted to see them again, so he strolled down to the Clocktower Meadow with his daughters Zoe, 5, and Eme, 3.
“I never heard of them,” said Aguirre, 26, a certified rocker with a sprawling goatee and multiple piercings in his nose and chin. “They were awesome. I was just asking for a CD.”