Local band loses Heavyweights Competition, turns negativity into strength
The Intersection in downtown Grand Rapids filled with cheers and screams Feb. 9 just after 10 p.m. as five guys wearing black sunglasses took the main stage, armed with guitars, basses and microphones.
Seraphim jumped and clapped along with a few hundred audience members as they dove into their set, ready to win the final round of the Heavyweights Competition and a top prize including $2,500.
However, after playing their first few songs and covering the pop song “Lights” by Ellie Goulding, something most bands would find discouraging happened – a large section of the audience began to “boo” and yell at the members onstage. Fans hugging the front of the stage tried to counter the negativity by chanting the band’s name and cheering. After a few moments of confused looks, the band shrugged it off and continued to play.
“It honestly made us play better,” said Jordan Radvansky, Seraphim’s vocalist and Grand Valley State University student. “We’ve never had, like, 200 people try to boo us offstage…it gave me extra motivation to just play harder.”
Radvansky said although they were receiving negative attention, the entire venue was focused on them at that point, and it gave them a boost of energy and motivation.
“Yeah we were booed, it flustered me at first,” said Jalen Buer, one of the guitarists. “But I knew those boos were superficial, and our fans kept cheering us on.”
Buer said the audience’s reactions had the band not only strive to play better, but realize that they are “a legitimate band to be reckoned with.”
With five other bands from across Michigan competing against Seraphim, the stakes were high. At the end of the night, after all audience votes were counted and judge’s notes reviewed, The Severed Process from Muskegon came out on top.
The members of Seraphim congratulated the winners, and are now focusing their sights on the future.
“We plan on playing more shows in the near future, and finalizing our album for release in the spring,” said guitarist Ian Bybee.
If the band had won the money, they would’ve released their new album within the next couple of weeks, but because of financial constraints, now have to wait a few months. But they aren’t letting a little bit of hate stop them from making music.
“I don’t know what the next few weeks or months are going to hold, but if people are gonna hate, then whatever,” Radvansky said.