North Ridgeville High School senior Dylan Andras won’t be covering Meatloaf’s “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” at the 23rd annual Tri-C High School Rock Off’s Final Exam taking place Saturday at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
However, that’s exactly what the vocalist-guitarist is thinking considering his groups Assault and Pure made the battle of the bands’ final round while his third, SoundTown, didn’t make the cut.
“Honestly, I would have rather SoundTown make it than Pure,” said Andras, 18, who plans on studying guitar in college. “SoundTown was a little more serious, while Pure didn’t expect to win. So it was kind of like a little backward from what I thought, but I mean, I can’t say I’m upset. Two for three is pretty damn good.”
As for Assault, Andras said he’s not surprised the band made it to the Final Exam.
“We’re just at the point where we’re a lean, mean, well-oiled, metal machine,” Andras said. “We’re tight. We’re focused. We’re on it.”
Influenced by the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Pantera, Assault — Andras, guitarist Connor Nelson, drummer Owen Pooley and bassist Dave McJunkins — represents North Ridgeville High School, Rocky River High School, Lake Erie International High School and Bay High School.
The thrash metal act has been around for years and already has opened up for several national touring acts, including Powerglove, Angra, All That Remains and Toxic Holocaust. After the Rock Off, Assault plans on recording new material.
“I definitely want to continue with Assault because I know we have something special going on,” said Andras, who recently auditioned for Berklee College of Music.
Regarding Pure, the hard rock trio — Andras, bassist Zachary Dolata and drummer Jared Schur — representing North Ridgeville High School and Ohio Online Academy made it to The Final Exam playing covers by UFO, Kiss and Black Sabbath.
“I don’t know, man, all three of us were in shock when we made it,” Andras said. “It was a little bit weird. We practiced once. Maybe it was just the energy. We picked a lot of songs that are kind of crowd pleasers and had a lot of cool little guitar things going on. I guess that appealed to the judges.”
The Tri-C High School Rock Off’s Final Exam features 12 bands vying for first place, which includes $1,000 cash and $250 for their high school music program. Second place receives $250 cash and $100 for their high school music program, and third place gets $100 cash.
The winning band also will receive the opportunity to perform at a Live Nation or House of Blues Cleveland concert as an opening act and at The Rock Hall’s annual Summer in the City program on the new Rock Hall Plaza Stage.
In addition to one of the finalists performing next summer at Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland, several Rock Off bands will have the opportunity to perform throughout the summer at Edgewater Live.
All finalists will record one original song at Tri-C’s Gill and Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts, which will be produced by Jim Stewart Recording and students from Tri-C’s recording arts and technology program.
Andras, who is about to play his sixth and seventh Tri-C High School Rock Off gig at the Rock Hall, said he enjoys performing in Pure, but remains confident Assault will be in the running to win the 2019 Tri-C High School Rock Off.
“We’re tight and fast,” Andras said. “I mean, anybody can play fast, but we can stop on a dime like it’s nothing. I don’t want to sound cocky or toot my own horn here, but the energy on our stage show, I think, is unmatched.
“We’re probably one of the wildest and craziest bands to watch. I’m going to be bummed out if we don’t win, but you know that just means there’s a better band than us. And that’s A-OK. Still, I think we have a pretty good shot.”