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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

EC Presents: Battle of the Bands

Watch, judge seven local bands competing for time slots in upcoming music events

ASUCD Entertainment Council is set to host a “Battle of the Bands” competition on April 27. Fifteen bands applied, but only seven made the final cut. Each band will perform a 20-minute set. The competition will feature The Sleeps, Dylans, Loose Threads, Autopilot, The Mutilations, Sugarbeast and Mossburns.

It will be up to the audience to decide the winner. The competition’s top three bands will get their choice of playing at one of three festivals in the future: the Davis Whole Earth Festival, Operation Restore Maximum Freedom and an EC Local Limelight.

The inspiration to host a Battle of the Bands struck during an EC staff meeting. When it was second-year political science major and EC special events coordinator Adrian Lopez’s turn to speak, he said the first thing that came to mind.

“[Our director Liz O’Neill] wanted everybody on staff to take projects,” Lopez said. “She wanted to create a self-sufficient team. And I just saw it on the wall. And it was a little paper that said “Battle of the Bands? 2017-2018.” So it was before I had even joined the Entertainment Council. And I looked at it and I had figured, why not? Let’s give it a shot.”

With a range of genres being performed, this battle is not only giving bands an opportunity to play for a bigger audience, but it’s giving the audience an opportunity to listen to music they may have never heard before.

“We actually call ourselves big wave,” said Jonah Lounds, bass player for The Sleeps.  “We made it up as a genre, but the fact that it’s totally our construction gives us a lot of freedom. So I think the main aspect of it is that we’ve pieced together a lot of post-punk and new wave elements. But we use kind of rock stuff to just get it beefier and bigger. And maybe even a little bit of glam. Big wave is kind of like hand-me-down sound. So we take our whole style and just like grabbing whatever. You know, who knows if it’s gonna work out? But we just take what we like from older generations and older styles and just kind of piece it together.”

While some bands are more on the pop punk side, Loose Threads, aim for a more deep-bluesy vibe in their music.

“I have always wanted to play [for] bands that make you feel like you could conjure a spirit whether for evil or good when you hear the song,” said Gabriel Gipe, bass player for Loose Threads. “I imagine that it’s music that can be played in front of an audience of 1500 or an audience of five on a porch. And I think that being able to do both is a pretty good sign that you know what you’re doing.”

With such a variety of music for the event, potential audience members may wonder whether the music will appeal to them.

“Shoot through with an open mind,” Lopez said. “You know, that’s what you should expect. You should expect to find acts that are interesting, acts that are good. Just don’t come with expectations, come with an open mind.”  

While the Battle of the bands is considered a competition, John Bologni, the singer and guitar player for Loose Threads, said an event like this does not feel like a competition at all.

“I think that overall, it’s just exciting to go ahead and bring the music to people who haven’t heard what we’re doing,” Bologni said. “And I’ve played in some battles of the bands before and to me at least, it’s not really like competition. It’s really just like an expose of talented musicians in the area that get to bring their music to a crowd that is going to receive them well. And you get to hear such a great variety of musicians when you play battles of bands. It’s more of like a form of building camaraderie with other local musicians.”

However, for The Sleeps, this competition is just a stepping stone. Because the winners get to decide on what event they’d like to perform at, the sense of competition for them is high.

“We’ve never done a battle of the band type of thing,” Lounds said. “So we were kind of apprehensive about it. But we were trying to get ourselves booked for ORMF this year. And because we played last year, they don’t like repeating acts. So we figured the only way that we can get back to ORMF is if we win this competition.”

Putting aside the level of competition and the ranking of the bands, Battle of the Bands still gives every music group an opportunity to widen their fanbase. And for some bands, that is all what playing music is about.

“I don’t really like playing music for money,” said Antonio Villegas, bass player for The Mutilations. “It’s just more towards the experience, having a good time.”

While the bands are all ready to go for the competition, Lopez admits that the road to getting this far has not always been a smooth one for EC.

“It’s hard,” Lopez said. “But I’m happy to do this. And I know because of that, because I’m nervous and because I’m scared… I’m learning something, and I’m going to come out a more experienced person because of it. Good or bad.”

Battle of the Bands will take place from 5:30 to 11 p.m. in the CoHo. Tickets are $5 presale and $7 at the door. EC will be tabling at the Memorial Union the week prior to the event.

Written By: Itzelth Gamboa — arts@theaggie.org


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