Meet Strip66, OH Fest XII’s Opener

Strip66, photographed by Lana Migliore

David Anderson, Staff Writer |

On Tuesday, March 21, the Oneonta Student Association and Music Industry Club hosted a Battle of the Bands to decide which student artist would open for Jesse McCartney at OH Fest on April 22. The Battle featured a litany of talent from both SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick. Those competing this year were Connor Chapman, The Mariguanas, Bad Gouda, BANDERSON, Naughty, Strip66, Secret Beaches, The One and Only Captain, Parallel, and Rootkit Disaster.

Prior to competing, interested artists had to sign up via Campus Connection and include photos of themselves and some form of recorded music. A list of these artists was then compiled by the Student Association and a poll was conducted of the student body to decide which of these artists would be allowed to compete. Once the poll was completed, the Student Association notified the public and the artists who would be performing less than 24 hours before the night of the performance.

Despite the late notice, the performance ran smoothly. Each act was given an eight-minute performance slot with five minutes to transition. The event began at 6:00 p.m. and ended at 8:00 p.m. The artists were evaluated by a panel of judges and by audience ranking. Each audience member who arrived for the start of the event was given a ticket. They would then have to exchange their ticket at the end of the event for a polling sheet from a Student Association member. These audience polls were then recorded and averaged in with the judges’ rankings.

In the end, Strip66 emerged victorious and will be opening for Jesse McMiddleSchoolNostalgia on April 22. Five runners-up were also chosen to play the carnival on Main Street that will happen during the day of McCartney’s concert. These artists are The Mariguanas, Secret Beaches, Naughty, BANDERSON, and Parallel.

Mo LaMastro has been one of Strip66’s guitarists since its inception. After his victory, I was able to ask him a few questions regarding his band’s victory and musical ambitions.

David: Who are you and how long have you been playing music?

Mo: My name is Mo LaMastro and I started playing music in elementary school.

D: When did Strip66 begin?

M: Strip66 formed in the Fall of 2014.

D: What kind of music do you play?

M: Jazz-funk-rock fusion. Our goal is to spread our music as far as possible and play shows all over the world.

D: Is there an artist that Strip66 collectively admires?

M: Everyone in Strip66 is very fond of Snarky Puppy and Hiatus Kaiyote.

D: Last year you released an album and did some fairly extensive traveling. What’s next on the agenda?

M: It was an extremely moving experience. After the time and work we spent writing our songs it felt very rewarding to see the album complete. After releasing it, we went on tour which was its own memorable experience. It was a great musical adventure. We’ve made tons of great new memories. Next on the agenda is recording and releasing new music, as well as playing shows in places we haven’t before.

D: How did it feel to win the main stage this year?

M: I was surprised about hearing that we won main stage because every year the OH Fest Battle of the Bands seems to be judged off a band’s popularity rather than their musicianship. I’m very excited to be able to play main stage.

D: If not Jesse McCartney, who would you love to open for?

M: If not Jesse McCartney, I would love to open for The Aristocrats.

Those looking to hear the talents of Mr. LaMastro and Strip66 should attend OH Fest on April 22.

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