On Friday, four bands walked into the Tralf and four walked out, but only one took home a satchel of cold hard cash, and hundreds of dollars worth of recording equipment from Guitar Center. Over 400 people turned out to witness Photos of Wagons take the grand prize in the annual Artvoice Battle of Original Music. The band took the stage last to perform their form of electric folk rock in front of a legion of fans who were ready and waiting to cast their ballots. Fans chanted “Photos! Photos!” as the band took the stage. By the time they started their first song, it was clear that the winner of the contest was on stage.
“I was ready to explode,” said Photos guitarist Grant Schulte, after the show. “I wasn’t really thinking about winning the contest, I just wanted to go nuts in front of all of our fans,” Schulte said.
Part Grateful Dead and part Wilco, Photos of Wagons have mastered their folky, progressive rock sound. Their songs inspire sing-a-long chants, which are punctuated by jangly guitar solos. As the band accepted their grand prize, each member stepped up to the microphone to thank their friends and fans. Drummer Jams Marotta thanked Artvoice and the band’s fans for voting for them in this “popularity contest,” but when it comes to local music the fact of the matter is, the most popular band is usually the most deserving.
photo by joe marzullo