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Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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NPR band rocks the competition

SHADY HILLS - The crowd cheered as Open Box Policy took the stage. More teens and young adults gathered around the stage as the band took their places and the first chords rang out on the guitar. It was time to rock the competition. Now in its 16th year, the 2013 “Rockus Maximus: Battle of the Bands” was presented by the Pasco County Library System at the Rotary Pavilion on State Road 52. Eight bands were chosen by judges from the original 17 applicants to perform on stage last Friday night for the chance to earn $1,000 cash and 10 hours of free recording time at Clear Track Recording Studio.
Open Box Policy, a pop-punk revival band from New Port Richey, took the stage for their third year. Their hard work paid off at the end of the night when the panel of judges awarded them their certificate and prizes. “They’ve always placed somewhere in the top four but haven’t won until now,” said Paul Stone-bridge, the teen services manager for the Pasco County Library Cooperative. “They’re very dedicated performers, try really hard and have a dedicated fan following.” Earlier in the night, gift certificates to Encore Music were presented to winners of the online voting competition prior to the final battle. The bands were asked to make videos promoting their band and a social cause. Orange Gravity took first place and Rising Down took second. The event is an effort to connect with teenagers and show them libraries are more than just about books, Stonebridge said. “The idea is to show teens and the college crowd that we speak their language,” Stonebridge said. “We’re not just books. Libraries are a collection of experiences and opportunities and we also support the arts.” More than 350 teens and young adults showed up to cheer on the competing bands and Open Box Policy played a large part in drawing the crowd. The band started in 2008 as a trio and is now a quartet inspired by a variety of musical genres and musicians. They played their first show together in February 2011; this was their first battle of the bands with their current lineup. The band consists of Vinny Suffredini on lead vocals and guitar, Jeremy Delaire on bass, Steffen Albright on drums and Mark Mattalina on lead guitar. The pop-punk revival refers to their love of ’90s pop-punk music and their effort to bring it back. “We’ve always stayed consistent with our music and always stride to make our sound better,” the band writes in their Facebook bio. “We try to put on the best show we possibly can and love what we do … we hope to continue what we do and try to get our name throughout the rest of Florida and the country.” The band had an energetic stage presence. Delaire and Mattalina jumped off stage several times to run through the audience and jump on picnic tables with their instruments. “You go to a show for the visuals,” Delaire said. “If you want to just hear us, you can stay at home and listen to our CD.” You can download the band’s CD, “Down the Drain,” online for free at ReverbNation. The band ended their night with a Facebook post: “We want to thank everyone that came out to the show and want you to know that we love all of you that helped us win. We really would be nowhere without all you awesome fans!! “Also thanks to Paul and everyone at the library. You guys are awesome people and we thank you for choosing us to win! Thank you all and have a good night!”

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