Spud Mack, LVNA, & Slim Dogis triumph at Rowan’s Battle of the Bands

"In first place came Spud Mack, a band with a genre that fluctuates to reflect each band member’s music taste." - Arts & Entertainment Editor / Al Harmon

Nine local bands formed by some of Rowan University’s students rocked the Chamberlain Student Center Pit on March 2, while showcasing their talent to the public as they competed in the annual Battle of the Bands event. The event hosted by the Student University Programmers (SUP), Rowan After Hours (RAH), and Rowan Alternative Music (RALT) began at 9:15 p.m. and ended at 1:00 a.m. 

Battle of the Bands demonstrates the musical skills provided by some of the greatest bands on campus; whoever wins the event gets to perform at Hollybash, Rowan’s annual spring festival, one last event for students before the semester ends. The Battle of the Bands is an event that students put an immense amount of work into for it to be successful. 

“This event is put on by the SUP board member, his name is Josh. He’s walking around right now but he is the director for live events like this. This should be his first really big event,” said Evangeline Li, the Graduate Coordinator for RAH and Special Events. “So, my role is we co-sponsor with SUP and RALT to put on this event together.” 

Bands and organizers arrived much earlier than the audience of the show to prepare for the big event. Each band was put in different rooms at the Chamberlain Student Center, where they could rehearse, go over any last-minute details of their performance, and settle down before they got on stage. The Estrogents, a band on campus that started two years ago, was the first musical act of the night. 

“I’m excited to interact with the community, definitely for sure. We did this last year and it was a fun time, if we win we’d get to play for a bigger show,” said Jack Darischuk, a member of Estrogents. 

Each performance was judged by four musical experts or artists, one being Emily Kurzenski, owner of the local Philadelphia DIY Podcast, The Groove, along with band member Matt Stypa from Frankie Mermaid, a band that performed and placed third last year. The last two judges were from last year’s first-place winner, MEASURES, who came back to critique with the rest of the judges on each band’s stage presence, creativity, and music. 

RALT’s President Sammi Kantor aided in the search for these judges so all the bands could have a fair critique of their performance. She is also the newest president of RALT, she was elected into the role last semester, so this is her first time co-hosting the Battle of the Bands event. 

“I think what’s kind of cool about RALT is it’s affiliated with the school. So it allows us to get people involved and like people in the Rowan community,” said Kantor. “It’s so important because this has been around for years, and like continuing that and making more people aware of the alt scene, getting people in bands, getting people to shows, it’s where people meet friends. I feel like you can’t get that anywhere else.” 

When the nine bands took the stage, the audience stood by, some danced along, and others enjoyed the music in a reserved manner, everyone enjoyed each performance from bands: Estrogents, Phineas Wrath, Slim Dogis, LVNA, Swansun, Spud Mack, Det Cart Sid, The Jettys, and Time for Eels.

It’s important to note that Time for Eels wasn’t a legitimate band and acted more as a closing act for the concert. One of the members was Carly Hulse, who is a permanent member of the band Spud Mack but couldn’t perform with her band since she sits on the RALT Executive board.

Once the last performance concluded, audience members gathered to scan a QR code that prompted them to nominate their fan favorite, whilst judges discussed the three winners. 

In first place came Spud Mack, a band with a genre that fluctuates to reflect each band member’s music taste. Last year they competed in Battle of the Bands but did not place at all, so placing first this year was a huge accomplishment for them. Their performance was electric, showing off what it truly means to be a talented band passionate about the music and the art of performing. They even debuted their new song “Pressure” during the performance. Due to their win, they will now be opening the main stage at Hollybash. 

“For the future of the band, we’re hoping that the win gives us some momentum to keep growing our audience and as musicians ourselves. BOTB drove us to finish one of our favorite songs, and hopefully, the excitement and pressure (no pun intended) of Hollybash does the same for us,” said St. Pierre. 

One of their main focuses now is to prepare for Hollybash, and what performance the large community of Rowan can anticipate from the skilled band. 

The second-place winner, LVNA, also scored a chance to perform at Hollybash, they will be closing the side stage of the immense event. A band with a large following, plus their recent release of their single, “REM,” LVNA already has a list of amazing accomplishments. The band had started midway through this past fall semester, so they’re relatively new to the music scene, a win this early in their career only keeps fans wondering, what is coming next. 

“This opportunity has given us the ability to reach so many more people with our music and now having the chance to perform at Holly Bash will bring us to an even broader audience which is so exciting,” said Maddie Reddy, the vocalist for LVNA. “Audiences can look forward to experiencing our original music and the infectious energy and excitement that we strive to bring to the stage.”

For third-place winners Slim Dogis, this win is helping them gear towards the right direction with their music. This was the band’s first time on the big stage with a sound system that helped amplify their songs. The biggest takeaway from the Battle of the Bands event was staying prepared for all things to come, as they stated, the real work happens offstage. The band is only a year old, but was successful in delivering a fun, engaging, powerful performance, credited to all members of Slim Dogis. 

“We’re a relatively young band only a year old, so seeing people like what we’re doing is so amazing. Slim Dogis’s end goal has always been to write good music that’s true to ourselves and we’re glad people like the way we are grooving,” said Jason Moran who is the drummer of the band. 

Throughout the show, audience members could be seen, jumping, singing along, and dancing their hearts away to all nine bands. Many did not hesitate to stay the entire time, as the decision to pick a winner was the cause of anticipation for everyone that night. In addition, every band gave a performance that was worthwhile, and entertaining. 

“I came out to support LVNA, I love every single member: Maddie, Liv, Matt, Jeremy and they were so good. And now they’re closing so that’s awesome,” said Star Coleman, an audience member and LVNA fan. 

Each band will continue to perform throughout the year, and for bands Spud Mack and LVNA, join them on April 19 at Hollybash to watch them take the stage. 

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