Battle of the Bands A Knockout Opener for Payson Park Music Festival

Photo: Will Goldsmith (right) of “The Nutrition Facts” at Payson Park Music Festival’s Battle of the Bands.

Will Goldsmith, the guitarist for the rock trio “The Nutrition Facts” (“The name is subject to change” he said) is bouncing around the stage like a pro during his band’s set during the Battle of the Bands at the Payson Park Music Festival; grimacing, windmilling, jumping up and down with beat like a mini-Angus Young – the lead guitarist of ACDC which happens to be Will’s guitar inspiration. 

“I picked up [the guitar] because I thought it was cool and I wanted to be cool,” said the Newton resident who attends the The Meadowbrook School in Weston. 

“I love it, it’s really fun,” said Goldsmith, who finished the set with a series of serious chops and a fist pumping in the air. 

Oh, by the way, he’s 11. As in elementary school. E-lev-en. 

Goldsmith’s band was one of four outstanding groups which rocked Payson Park before a packed grounds – Payson-palooza? – on Wednesday, June 17, the opening act of the festival celebrating its 25th anniversary. 

“It’s fun and great to see the kids play,” said Tomi Olson, the founder and director of the festival.

“It’s a great start to the summer. It’s nice to be able to come out and hear music outside. It’s revitalizing,” she said. 

For the second year, the season began with groups made up of high school, and this year, middle school (and with the case of Goldsmith, even younger) students who proved that you’re never too young to rock. 

The Dominoes from Newton are made up of sixth grade classmates from the Charles Brown Middle School, fronted by standout soloist Abby Matthews, who is just a year older than Goldsmith.

Since getting together a year ago, “we are really so much better,” said Matthews who captured the crowd with covers from Katy Perry and Adele. 

“It’s really exciting to be here in front of these many people,” she said, which included the group’s parents who were just as enthusiastic just listening to their kids. 

Along with Radium, made up of members of the Waltham High School Show Band (which finished the sets with a James Brown cover that was a show stopper) was Belmont’s own Free Shipping, a sophomore quintet that had considerable support of several female classmates in the audience taking Instagram photos during their set. 

“I follow them everywhere,” said Chloe Brown of Belmont. “They work hard and they have a good vibe.” 

And the band, fronted by Jasper Wolf, with Tino Decoulos (guitar), lead guitar Nico (Bono) Albano, Aidan Hamell (guitar and keyboard) and drummer Tommy Slap, was named the night’s winner – receiving a $250 gift certificate from the night’s sponsor Belmont Savings Bank – with a set that was both smooth and edgy.

Laurie Slap, the drummer’s mom and School Committee Chair, said her son’s playing was “sensational” and the band “is a testament of the great music program we have in Belmont.” 

Asked about having a drummer in the house since third grade, Slap said “I like [Tommy’s] playing.”

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