Saturday night's final round of the was the best entertainment value in the county: $10 bought your choice of seats to hear seven bands playing their hearts out for a chance at the title and a $500 cash prize.
Each group was given a four-song set and they made the most of their time on stage, from U2-inspired openers The Subtones to the reggae sounds of Trevor Lyon and the sophisticated folk-rock of Anadel winding up the evening.
Subtones lead singer Christopher Sean Des Jardins spent twice the time onstage, appearing also on guitar and vocals in the duo Ove the Garden with his brother Joey, an exceptionally talented drummer formerly associated with Deluna.
"It's hard being in two bands. It's like having two girlfriends," the singing Des Jardins observed between songs.
Teen groups On3 and The Radio Effect were also among the finalists, voted in by their fans after earlier rounds of the competition, and delivered energetic sets.
But the only group that rocked harder than the Des Jardins was Us As a Nation, whose members drove through their performance with an energy that had audience members on their feet.
A panel of celebrity judges were to determine the outcome of the "battle": program director Aaron Axelsen of Live105 (host/creator of Soundcheck), editor Gabe Meline of the North Bay Bohemian and Stefan Aronsen of the DIY music site Sf-Intercom.
At the end of the night, they chose Us As a Nation the winner of the competition, with The Subtones and Anadel in second and third place.