The 2022 CEMB Best of the Best showcase brought together artists spanning five genres in a display of Belmont spirit Saturday night.
Students filled the Curb Event Center and sat in the stands as the court was still under renovations but it didn’t deter the bands from bringing passion and emotion to their performances.
James Cole opened the showcase and brought the arena to life with performances of his groovy pop-R&B singles “Back to the Bottle” and “Because of You,” the latter of which he dedicated to his mother, who was in attendance.
Corinna Gill, one of the ASCAP writer’s round winners, followed Cole with her song “Too Much,” which juxtaposed his excited energy with a more intimate sound.
The lights on the stage changed color as Bridey Costello’s name flashed on the screen.
Pop/Rock winner Costello brought the crowd back to its feet with “Figure Me Out” and “Wasting Your Time,” which fans sang back to her.
Costello’s bandmates danced and jumped all across the stage during the set.
As the spotlight faded and the lighting shifted, Molly Tetterton broke through the darkness with her song “Dancing in Heaven,” written for a close friend who died her senior year of high school.
Sully Bright took the stage after Tetterton and brought an intimate air to his performance with his Christian folk. He sang his songs “November” and “Spring.”
Lydia Von Hof, another ASCAP winner, played after Bright and sang “Verona,” a twist on a typical love song that brought many in attendance to their feet.
The sounds of crickets and the subtle strum of guitars could only mean one thing: Country showcase winner Trent Wayne was back for more. Wayne played his hit “Hankerin’ for a Honky-Tonk” and two other tunes for fans to dance to.
But more country was in store as Gloria Anderson took her place in the spotlight.
Anderson sang an original song dedicated to the many writers in Nashville looking to make their dreams come true with “Small Town Big Time Stars.”
And for the final act of the night, the Curb stage transformed into the California coast.
Distant outlines of palm trees and a massive beach ball signaled the arrival of who else but RV! — 2021’s Battle of the Bands winner.
RV! began with “Shotgun Sun,” and followed with fellow surf-themed tunes “Jetplane” and “Water Song,” all of which are featured in the band’s upcoming summer EP.
Showcase series will be back this fall to crown the newest slate of winners.
PHOTO: Trent Wayne performing at Best of the Best in the Curb Event Center. A.J. Wuest / Belmont Vision
This article was written by Braden Simmons.