Battle of the Bands occured on Dec. 14, 7 p.m. - 10 p.m., at the Stardust Event Center at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. Tickets cost $10, and they could have been purchased at the door or preordered on Facebook or Instagram.
This year, seven bands competed for the chance to record their original songs and win a cash prize. They performed covers and original songs for the battle.
“I haven’t played for Battle of the Bands before, but I have opened for them before. The first time I opened for the battle was in sixth grade,” said Noelle McDonald, co-singer of Made Ya Look, a band performing.
Lauren Schenk, co-singer of Made Ya Look, has opened for Battle of the Bands before alongside McDonald.
“Especially for Battle of the Bands, it’s a much bigger crowd than what we normally perform in front of. People are generally having a good time, though, and it’s more interactive than what we normally get. Even for us opening, we opened with four songs, which was well received by the audience,” Schenk said.
“We really encourage everyone to come out. It’s always a really fun time,” McDonald said.
Ava Rowland, lead singer of Been There Done That, has played at Battle of the Bands three times before.
“My favorite part about playing is seeing the crowd’s reaction to us playing a song they know. We play a lot of pop rock, like 2000s Avril Lavigne. But our genre really varies, because we also cover singers like Katy Perry and groups like Journey,” Rowland said.
Bands performing were required to perform three cover songs and an original song.
“My favorite original song to play is ‘Lullaby’, we’ve only performed it live once. It’s a slow song, and no one’s expecting it, but it’s fun. I’m most looking forward to our closer though. I can’t say what it is, but it’s going to be good. It’s a really popular song, and I’m excited to see everyone’s faces,” Rowland said.
Battle of the Bands was put on by the QC Rock Academy, where band members are taught.
“Greg, the director [of QC Rock Academy], has wanted me to be in a band for a while. There was a meeting with all of the people who wanted to be in a band, and Lauren and I got to hear them play. We knew they were the right fit style-wise and music-wise. We kind of got to pick and choose who was in the band,” McDonald said.
Some of QC Rock Academy’s students were apprehensive about joining a band, though.
“I actually didn’t want to at first, but then after watching my best friend on stage, it seemed like a lot of fun. I got a lot of inspiration from Hum Hum and the Crash, and it made me realize that I really wanted to be on stage. Greg set me up with a kid named Grant Beck, and we knew that we were going to do great things,” said Katie Lampe, lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Strictly Business.
Competition is very important to all the bands. All seven bands were excited to have a chance at recording one of their original songs. The battle is friendly and pushes the bands to perform, pulling out all the stops. The tension creates an exciting and energetic atmosphere.
“I’m pretty competitive when it comes to music. And watching other bands perform, they’re all really good,” said Lampe.
The crowd seems to empower the teens on stage, giving them an outlet to express themselves. Seeing the audiences’ reaction to their performances is the highlight of the night.
“It makes me feel good, and it gives me more confidence. It’s a good way to cope with my severe anxiety,” said McDonald.
In the end, Been There Done That won the battle and is excited to perform again next year.