Best Band with Cross-Pollinated Roots 

The Memorials

Composed of three Berklee School of Music alumni — two of whom also attended Berkeley High — this power rock trio has real musicianship to ground it. Drummer Thomas Pridgen toured with The Mars Volta and various other pop acts, although he's also schooled in jazz and R&B. That means he can shift from a polyrhythm to a solid backbeat, exhibiting control as well as creativity. Singer Viveca Hawkins, who started out in gospel choirs and later sang backup with the Kev Choice Ensemble, has the vocal range to accommodate just about any style. She can yowl like a rock star, or belt out a hard, churchy wail that hovers, uneasily, over Nick Brewer's guitar parts. The trio format seems to suit this group best — the members are hard-core pleasure-seekers and weed enthusiasts, for whom "looseness" seems essential. That said, they also perform with a full band, featuring Uriah Duffy on bass and Maya Kronfeld or Michael Aaberg on keys. Check out The Memorials' live show if you get a chance — it's electrifying.

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