The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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First Battle of the Bands rocks the main quad

Students perform Saturday at the Battle of the Bands.
MICHAEL DANSER/The Daily Campus
Students perform Saturday at the Battle of the Bands.

Students perform Saturday at the Battle of the Bands. (MICHAEL DANSER/The Daily Campus)

Music blared from the main quad outside of Dallas Hall Saturday during a showcase of SMU student’s talent at the first Battle of Bands.  Sponsored by the SMU Program Council, KPNI SMU Radio and the Granada Theater, the event brought together eight bands with at least one member from SMU.

The evening began with Easterling, a pop trio most notable for their matching argyle sweaters.  Brothers Ethan and Josh Wood, along with longtime friend J. William Slagle, played for a crowd of about 50 SMU students and people from the Dallas community. Their upbeat set and catchy rhythms set the stage for a night of great music and good fun.

Next to perform was Spook Easy, a local band comprised of singer and keyboardist Stephanie Burns, guitarist Logan Kelson, bassist Joe Tacke and drummer Chaz Carson.  Burns’ voice was soft yet powerful, resembling an amateur Ani Difranco, and bringing a folk essence to their performance. 

Then came the judges’ favorite, Onward We March.  And with the lead singer’s introductory words, “I’ve never seen or heard of a metal band perform at SMU,” more than half the crowd emptied the tent.  But that didn’t keep the band from winning the competition.  The judges praised Onward We March for their professionalism and energy and gave them the opportunity to play at the Granada, but also Double Wide, a metal bar in Uptown.

Nuggatron, a four-piece completely instrumental band, would have won an award for originality and audience participation if there was one. Their beats and rifts ran in circles, creating a never-ending dance party that exploded when they covered “Inspector Gadget.”

As the sun set, Neomodernism took the stage. This trio of Meadows Performance majors put on a classy act of jazz piano, stand up bass and steady drums.  It felt like waiters should have been walking around with trays of cocktails, and the tent walls should have been lined with art.

The crowd favorite, Inmotion, was next on stage.  As a new band, less than a week old, drummer Simon Raad said he was thrilled to win the prize money.

“We stayed up the previous three nights practicing relentlessly,” he said.  “It felt really nice to be rewarded for our musical talent.”

During the next set, Raad took up drums for Still House Hollow with Cale Tyson (vocals and guitar) and Nina Beachum (cello and backup vocals).  Their soothing indie/folk sound reverberated through the darkness and added an interesting twist to a cover of R&B song “Beautiful Girls.”

The closing band in the competition was Lil Bhuddah and the Pack Rats, the biggest band to play all day self described as “a breed unknown to man.”  Although they ended the competition, Nick Cains, the master of ceremonies, and his band Flipside performed “Handle Bars” by Flobots to close up the evening while the judges deliberated. 

Prize money of $1,000, was awarded to Inmotion as the crowd favorite, and a performance at the Granada Theater, awarded to Onward We March as the judge’s pick.

If you missed the Battle of Bands this time, don’t be discouraged.  Raad, who was also a member of the committee to organize the event, said they’d like to repeat it in the future.

“It was a really amazing experience, a lot of fun, and really well planned out.  The success of this year gives the committee hope and motivation to make it even bigger next year.”

Students perform Saturday at the Battle of the Bands. (MICHAEL DANSER/The Daily Campus)

Students perform Saturday at the Battle of the Bands. (MICHAEL DANSER/The Daily Campus)

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