It hasn’t been around quite as long as the Apple Blossom Festival itself, but the Apple Blossom’s Battle of the Bands competition returned on the second day of the festival to continue its growing tradition of giving a stage to local music groups.
Out of the three acts participating, the judges acclaimed “showpop” pianist Fiona Corrine as this year’s champion, performing songs from Disney’s “The Lion King” during a requested encore to her set.
Originally from Rochester, NY, Corrine followed her boyfriend as he obtained a job at UTC Aerospace in Westford. Now, she performs regularly wherever she can in the Boston area, particularly on busy sidewalks and subway stops in the city.
The transition into what she sees as a much more vibrant music scene than Rochester has taken some work, but she’s slowly getting used to it.
“It was a lot easier there because I grew up there and people knew me and I knew the people I needed to know and I wasn’t the bottom of the totem pole,” she said.
The other two acts sandwiching Corrine’s performance were guitar and drum ensembles also with Westford ties.
The evening began with a set from Lowell’s The Frauds, an energetic emo-pop trio with indie sensibilities that describes itself as “what it would sound like if the Pixies and the Shins got into a fight.”
Several members of The Frauds work in Westford. Along with the punk/hard-alt driven Surrealists, which had several Westford natives, both bands had veterans from earlier Apple Blossom competitions performing with other bands.
Like Corrine, members from both bands praise parts of the Eastern Massachusetts scene, but also like Corrine, stress that cooperation from local musicians is essential to keep local music thriving.
“I’ve heard everyone is going down to Philadelphia because it’s a superconnected scene and we’re trying to do the same thing around here, “said Benjamin Hanson, bassist for The Frauds. “We want to know each other, we want to connect the dots and make sure everyone has enough people coming to shows so venues can do well.”
As in previous years, the contest served as a special episode of WestfordCAT’s Local Music Rocks, hosted by Ike Keltz.
For Keltz, the show, both on television and at Apple Blossom, serves the dots that Hanson wants to connect.
“The reason we’ve been doing our show for so long is to connect musicians who don’t have another way to get their music into the community,” said Keltz.
Local Music Rocks is available on-demand at westfordcat.org, the Battle of the Bands was recorded and will appear at westfordcat.org in the near future.