Myrtle Beach-based reggae/rock band Below the Bassline advanced Sunday in the third and final qualifying round of the 2011 Hard Rock Calling Battle of the Bands.
The band, which consists of McKinley Devilbiss (vocals/guitar), Andrew McDermott (bass) and Jeremy Deas (drums), beat out two other bands to move on to the local finals. The finals will be held March 13 and will feature Below the Bassline facing off against Round 1 winner Beyond The Fade (Charlotte, N.C.) and Round 2 Aunt Polly's Glass Eye (Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.).
The crowd Sunday was significantly bigger than the previous two weeks' events, a phenomenon partially attributed to the start of Spring Break and also a signifcant contingent of local music fans brought in by the two local acts.
The night kicked off with a performance by Shelby, N.C.,-based modern rock band Sister Trish, whose energetic set featured some skillful instrumentals by guitarist Tony Greenway and solid vocals from Dustin Nichols.
Next up was Doctrine of Ethos, a local progressive rock band which brought out of a college crowd — the band's members are Coastal Carolina music students. The band kept the crowd entertained throughout the set, especially during its closing number "Rise of the Machines" which featured vocalist Natalie Roberts running throughout the restaurant — and even upstairs to the judges table — to have audience members scream the song's chorus.
"I thought the band sounded good," said Doctrine bassist Joe Meckley. "It was much better than last year. We played a much tighter set."
"I thought it was really great," added judge Angie Capone, a local singer-songwriter. "I really want to talk with Natalie, she was very talented."
Below the Bassline closed out the night, beginning their set with a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" in order to showcase frontman McKinley Devilbiss' guitar chops. From there the group moved on to a feel-good original called "So I Smile" and a slide-guitar filled track called "Fishbowl" before closing with the reggae jam "Different Perspective."
"They sounded great tonight," said local music fan Christine Taylor, who has attended each of the battle's qualifiers with her husband Tom. "I'm glad to see them win."
Here's what Below the Bassline had to say about their win and performance: