Around the Island

Islander wins Battle of the Bands

Shelter Island musician Erich Collins Carey is savoring the win of his band, Rock Creek Kings, at radio station WEHM’s Real Band Battle on June 20. 

Every May for the last eight years, the radio station has called for local acts to compete in the competition. WEHM then features 16 semi-finalists on its website and invites listeners to vote on them. The top five vote-getters squared off in a live battle of the bands at Bobbique in Patchogue. By winning, the band earned a featured slot at the Great South Bay Music Festival, studio time at Dream Recording Studios, air time for their music on WEHM, and of course a few bragging rights among those plugged into the local music circuit. 

The win was especially sweet for Mr. Carey, who had reached the finals as a solo act in 2013, but failed to win in his debut. “Having been to the finals of the Real Band Battle six years earlier, I knew what we had to do to win, and Rock Creek Kings was the perfect band to get the job done,” he said. “Needless to say our Long Island roots, friends and family made a huge difference in a winning performance.”

The band also features Suffolk County natives Jonah Belser and Tyler Goldstein (both from Hauppauge) and songwriter Evan Moses from Montreal.

A mix of law, politics and policy brought the band members to Washington, D.C. Mr. Carey works as an attorney with the National Music Publishers’ Association, Mr. Moses is an IP attorney with the Concept Law Group while Mr. Belser moved to D.C. on a Carnegie Fellowship for international affairs. But the band is all business when it comes to their music, regularly playing up and down the East Coast including gigs in D.C., as well as New York City and of course Long Island.

With their big win, the band now turns their focus to making their summertime festival debut at the Great South Bay Music Festival. Now in its 13th year, the festival is the longest running and largest American-themed art and cultural family event on Long Island, with approximately 60 performers on four stages over four days. This year’s line-up features rock legends such as America (“Horse With No Name”), WAR (“Low Rider”) and Edgar Winters Band (“Free Ride”). 

For the Rock Creek Kings, the win is a great opportunity. “Chances like these are rare,” said Mr. Belser, “and our victory is all the sweeter knowing that we will be representing Long Island musicians at Long Island’s biggest festival.” Added Mr. Carey, “it’s great to see this all come together for the band. It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work, but to paraphrase one of our biggest influences, ‘if you try sometimes, you get what you need.’”

More information about the Rock Creek Kings and the Great South Bay Music Festival may be found at and The Rock Creek Kings will perform at the festival on Sunday, July 21, at 4 p.m.