One Above Below None, which barely got into EMP Museum’s Sound Off! competition as a wild card this year, won first place Saturday.

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Concert review

Hip-hop group One Above Below None took the top prize Saturday at EMP Museum’s 21-and-under battle of the bands — Sound Off! — securing performances at this summer’s Bumbershoot and Capitol Hill Block Party.

“We felt like the underdog in this competition,” said Devante Cash, who shares vocal duties with Janile Mundy in the Seattle quartet.

That was understandable. After missing the Sound Off! cut for three years, the hip-hop quartet almost missed it again when it was the 13th band selected to participate, but got in after another group dropped out. One Above Below None finished second in its semifinal round, but got into the finals as a wild card.

“We did our set justice,” Cash said, tears rolling from his eyes, as he and Mundy were mobbed by admirers snapping smartphone photos. “We just left it all out there.”

Now in its 14th year, Sound Off! boasts an alumni list that includes big names like The Lonely Forest, Dyme Def and Sol.

The bands played Saturday EMP’s Sky Church to a full house of fans of all ages, some young enough to require noise-suppressing headphones.

Mercer Island rock band Naked Giants finished second, while folk/indie singer-songwriter Emma Lee Toyoda and her group finished third, ahead of indie band Bleachbear.

Naked Giants energized the crowd with a performance full of head-banging, bouncing blond curls from lead singer and guitarist Grant Mullen and jumping. Lots of jumping. So much so that the band members walked offstage looking like they had run a short marathon.

Bleachbear, a family band and the youngest act in the finals, took the stage next with its indie dreampop set.

Toyoda played third and was named audience favorite. The crowd erupted for her unique instrumentation as she played the banjo, guitar and ukulele. The indie folk singer also had backup from violinist Adelyn Westerholm, Anna White on double bass, Zeke Bender on drums and Veronica Johanson-Faison on melodica.

One Above None Below performed last, offering a set that featured all new songs, composed just seven days earlier.

Marquise Brown’s smooth, effortless drumming commanded the attention of the crowd, setting a beat so solid Cash and Mundy could roam freely with their lyrics.

“He brings that spark,” Mundy said of Brown.

All of the bands Saturday took time out of their sets to praise their competitors.

“With these bands, I felt nervous,” Cash said. “I went on SoundCloud and I was like, ‘Man, how are we going to do this?’ ”