Here's what we witnessed:
Captain Ahab and the Narwhals: These fresh-faced youngsters didn't look tough enough to be fearsome sea captains, but kudos for dressing the part. They sounded kind of like the Avett Brothers. We enjoyed their cello. Now how about some sea chantees?
Todd: His bandmate in Instant Tradition had other engagements, so Todd just played the guitar and talked a bit about Catholicism and the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Fire in the Churchyard: These two ladies rocked the drums and electric ukulele, but not in a very twee way. They wore homemade masks. They played an obligatory rap number (Wu Tang Clan).
Royal: These dudes rolled in from McPherson, Kansas and proved it's possible to play loud(ish) guitar rock in a live setting while still showcasing kick-ass harmony vocals. Plus, a trumpet!
Strider: Reppin' the Bear Club, Strider delivered a smooth set of socially-conscious numbers such as "Don't Fuck With Ugly Bitches" (Chip: "I love songs with a message.").
We weren't allowed to vote prior to midnight, which sort of makes sense (we had not seen all the bands) but sort of doesn't (there's probably less than ten people who are actually present for ALL of the bands, and we suspect whoever plays latest when the scenesters arrive inevitably advances to the Finals).
Anyway, our vote is...Royal!
We didn't make it to Late Night, but it appears that Coach Self retired his Vanilla Ice duds in favor of...the Fonz: