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Battle of the Bands rages on

BY ASHLEY MURPHY | SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 5:00 AM

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Guitar riffs over bass tracks and drum tracks behind vocals sometimes work to create a winning combination of sounds.

The Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St., has been a musical battleground every Thursday night in September as bands attempt to win over crowds by playing their original music. The winner of each Thursday show will participate in the final battle on Oct. 25.

Tonight, the bands Live Broadcast, Crystal City, Surrounded By Giants, and Alpha Bet will play from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the third concert of the series.

The first-place band will win five days of studio time at Earthtone Studio (a $1,500 value), and the second-place band will earn one day of recording time, along with a keg of Fat Tire (a $500 value). However, the bands don’t appear to be focused on the prizes.

“We like to have fun,” said Surrounded By Giants’s lead guitarist Jordan Burk. “That’s kind of the main thing about being in a band, and it translates into the crowd. If we’re having fun, the crowd will, too.”

Surrounded By Giants isn’t the only band with the goal of getting the crowd “jumpin’ and movin,” as singer and rhythm guitarist Jack Greve puts it. Lead singer of Crystal City Dave Helmer, who has similar goals, said that he feels honored to be included in something in which everyone is pumped and happy.

“To anyone who comes out, we’re going to rock and have a good time,” he said. “We’ll keep the mood up.”

The performing bands said they hope to bring both energy and variety to Battle of the Bands. From Alpha Bet’s softer alternative pop/rock to Surrounded By Giants’s diverse blues-and-funk-inspired rock, an array of genres are guaranteed to be represented.

These differences in style, however, didn’t stop the participants from supporting each other. In fact, Helmer attended the Sept. 11 battle to support one of his favorite local bands, Milk Duct Tape, as well as the winning band, Flannel Season.

“The whole reason for doing this was to get a little exposure and to, hopefully, get to play with some other great bands,” Flannel Season vocalist and drummer Matthew Larson said. “It’s also good to know that we are part of an event that will help local acts release some of their own stuff.”

Although alternative/indie band Live Broadcast has recently recorded and released an album, singer Dillon Rairdin said the members appreciate the live exposure. Rairdin, who also plays bass and piano in the band, said the battle gives an opportunity for improvement.

“The thing we’re looking forward to most is being able to play in front of people,” Rairdin said about him and bandmates Luke Long and Riley Thurm. “We’re also looking forward to hearing good things, bad things, and what we can do better.”

Audience members have the final say of who tonight’s winner will be. Though the participating musicians have kept the competition light, they consider the recording time to be a valuable prize — but Aaron Moseley, bassist of Surrounded by Giants, said he wouldn’t be crushed to get the runner-up spot.

“I mean, second place looks pretty cool with that keg of Fat Tire,” he said and laughed.


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