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The soul of the centennial

August 22, 2005|By: Lindsay Sandham

The soul act Natusol took first place in the City of Newport Beach's

Battle of the Bands Sunday, beating five other local entries and

winning the opening slot for the first event in the city's centennial

celebration.

As part of its annual Sunday Fun Day celebration at Bonita Canyon

Sports Park, the city organized the battle of the bands as a way to

select the opening act for the Let's Do Launch centennial kickoff

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party. The party will be held at Newport Dunes Oct. 2, with the Beach

Boys as the headlining performers.

Winning music contests is not a new concept for Natusol -- they

have taken first place two years in a row at UC Irvine's Battle of

the Bands, held each year during its Mardi Gras celebration.

"If you have fun doing it and you love what you do, the crowd

picks up on it," said Natusol keyboard player Erik Przytulski. "We do

it because we love it."

All the bands that competed were from Orange County. Last Night's

Lasagna, the Gilder Creek Band and Hammer of the Godz -- a Led

Zeppelin cover band -- earned participation plaques. Jumping Jack

Flash -- a Rolling Stones cover band -- placed third, and 3 Mile Walk

took second.

"Two of the bands tied for me," said one of the judges, Samantha

Fink, 15, who sits on the City Teen Council. She said she scored 3

Mile Walk and Natusol the same. "They both had original music, and it

wasn't too out there -- it was nice music to listen to."

The three judges -- Fink, Cherri Myers and Teri Craig -- evaluated

the bands on audience response, instrument proficiency, vocal

quality, originality and overall performance.

Myers, who is on the city's entertainment committee, said all the

bands performed well, but she thinks Natusol won because their sound

is strong and their music original.

Members of the band come from a variety of backgrounds and bring

different musical passions with them. Their music is an eclectic mix

of soul, funk, jazz, Latin, reggae and R&B.

"I think Natusol won because there's a different vibe that Natusol

has," said the band's manager, Ana Grey. "They use all of their

different loves of music and bring it all together."

Sean Levin, recreation manager for the City of Newport Beach, said

Natusol's sound is very unusual, and he thinks that helped them win

over the judges.

"They had soul," he said. "You felt it when they were playing."

Levin said the city is considering hosting another battle of the

bands next year to select an act for the centennial's closing party.

More than 3,000 tickets -- out of a total of 8,000 -- have already

been sold for the Oct. 2 kickoff celebration.

For more information on Natusol, visit o7www.natusol.net.f7

For more information on the Let's Do Launch party, visit

o7www.newportbeach100.com f7or call (949) 644-3151.

* LINDSAY SANDHAM can be reached at (714) 966-4625 or

lindsay.sandham@latimes.com.

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