The Daily Iowan

5 bands of students face off in a musical battle

Five music acts will offer their own personal genres and sounds in their attempts to take home the gold at Battle of the Bands tonight, at 6 p.m. in the IMU Amphitheater.

Scamper+performs+at+Blue+Moose+Tap+House.+The+band+will+be+competing+tonight+at+Battle+of+the+Bands.
Scamper performs at Blue Moose Tap House. The band will be competing tonight at Battle of the Bands.

Scamper performs at Blue Moose Tap House. The band will be competing tonight at Battle of the Bands.

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Scamper performs at Blue Moose Tap House. The band will be competing tonight at Battle of the Bands.

Michael McCurdy and Sarah Stortz

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Five music acts will offer their own personal genres and sounds in their attempts to take home the gold at Battle of the Bands tonight.

With this being SCOPE’s second iteration of the Battle of the Bands, talent buyer Savannah Lane wants to build on last year’s success by including more diversity among the participants on stage and in the genres of music echoing throughout the amphitheatere.

“We definitely wanted it to be more diverse this year, and after looking at the lineup, I’m proud to say we accomplished that with genres of music ranging from ska, metal, folk, and hip-hop,” Lane said. “It’ll be an environment in which I think any students in attendance will able to find something they like.”

Here are the five acts performing at the Battle of the Bands.

Nongrata

Searching on Craigslist, Joe Gephart, lead singer for Nongrata, wanted to find a new musical niche after moving to Iowa City. Once he came upon an ad looking for a metal singer, he took the chance to meet with the band members, then reported that he immediately felt right at home.

“I grew up in a family where all kinds of music [was] appreciated. I constantly had influences from country to rap to rock,” Gephart said. “One thing that drew me to rock ’n’ roll and metal is that whenever you have something in your life that you’re struggling with, whether that be family issues or friend issues, the messages the songs have are very supportive.”

Taking influence from bands such as Metallica and Slipknot, Gephart said the band doesn’t necessarily try to emulate those sounds but more so the groups’ attitude and effect.

Gephart said he hopes his band will appeal to those unfamiliar with metal music.

“We’re unique in the way in that we’re trying to take some of the heavier music that’s kind of popular and make it a little more attainable,” Gephart said. “We want those people to try to branch out and explore some more musical boundaries.”

Scamper

Toward the end of his sophomore year, Braden Goyke, the bass player for Scamper, was approached by his friend, Peter Dressel, to start a band. After gathering some of their friends from Waukee High School, the band has remained together for two years.

The group specializes in playing punk and alternative music, which Goyke has long been drawn by.

“It’s sad and lyrically driven, but something about it, I always had a lot of fun listening to,” he said. “Peter and I bonded a lot over it.”

The band members were familiar with SCOPE and its Battle of the Bands. Throughout the summer, Goyke said, the members considered applying but felt hesitant thinking they wouldn’t be accepted. With only a few minutes to spare, they sent in an application on the last day, with Goyke calling it “a stroke of luck.”

For this year, he said, the audience members will have a large selection of music they’ll enjoy listening to.

“At the very least, if you don’t want to see us or our style of music, the other bands playing are going to be really awesome,” he said. “There’s something for everyone there, so take a chance on it.”

Mystic Cats

Sharing an admiration for several musical figures, a few friends from the Hawkeye Marching Band came together to make a horn band that specializes in covers.

The Mystic Cats originally began as a ska ensemble when the members formed it three years ago.

Teagan Kiel, a vocalist and guitarist for Mystic Cats, said the band covers a wide range of artists, such as the Beatles, Kanye West, and Outkast.

“There are so many influential people who make music in this world,” Kiel said. “It’s really inspiring to see all of these people be creative and make all these kinds of music … we like to give every part of that and show everyone that there’s so many beautiful things happening from art and from music from so many different genres.”

One of his band members sent him a link to apply for the Battle of the Bands, seeing it as a good opportunity for the group to have a public appearance. The band previously had a few gigs, with its first being at Gabe’s at the beginning of June.

“That was one was really special for me because it was the first time I had gotten on stage and performed in that setting,” Kiel said. “I’m sure that was very special for the rest of the band members as well.”

Average

The story behind Average originates in the hallways of Currier, as two freshmen, Jude Abogye and Rhedt Roelandt, bonded over their similar tastes in music and their drive to do something with it.

Most of their written material so far is a product of Abogye and his songwriting, and listeners can expect Roelandt to belt out those lyrics on lead vocals.

“It was just me starting out writing rap lyrics, and from there, it’s grown into more of a natural process to a point where we don’t have to force anything,” Abogye said. “In the early days, I figured the more I write down, the better. I feel like as a writer, that’s something you got to figure out yourself.”

The performance is rather important to Abogye and Roelandt, because it will be their first time playing in front of an audience. The two do not seem too nervous, rather, they appear to be excited to showcase their talent with other student acts in a fun and welcoming environment.

“There’s already a lot of talent and culture in Iowa City, it’s just about exploring it and finding where it’s at,” Roelandt said. “I think the Battle of the Bands is a great example of showing that college students are getting an education, but we also have more to bring to the table.”

Dandelion Seminary

The UI’s Clara Reynen is Dandelion Seminary. As a “one-woman band,” she will take the Hubbard Park stage alone, ready to showcase her lifelong passion for music.

For Reynen, performing on a stage is nothing new; she spends much of her time acting in the UI’s Theater Department while also spreading laughter throughout Iowa City in open mics as a standup comedian. With that being said, the stage, especially this one, is still nerve-racking.

“If I’m in a play and people do not like the show, it’s not entirely on me; I can point them to the direction of the bad script,” Reynen joked. “But with music, it’s all on me; the stakes are a lot higher.”

Around the age of 4, Reynen got started by taking piano lessons, learning mostly the classics. She still plays piano, though she has grown fonder of guitar. She said her lack of guitar experience allows her to break the rules and be more creative when she makes music.

Reynen tends to call her songs children’s music for grownups, with stories about little, everyday things that one can take and turn into something special.

She is also grateful for SCOPE and its effort to help local bands attempt to get onto the music scene.

“This is my first live show as an established act, which I think is really great, because I don’t know how to get into the music scene in Iowa City, and I feel like SCOPE provides a launching point where I can début myself to give me the confidence to seek other venues,” Reynen said.

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About the Writer
Sarah Stortz, Arts Reporter
Twitter: _ssto
Sarah Stortz is currently a digital producer and arts reporter at the DI. She is a junior at the University of Iowa, studying journalism & mass communication with a certificate in nonprofit management. She has been at the DI since January of 2017, previously working as a news reporter during her freshman year. She worked in the arts section during her sophomore year, eventually becoming the assistant arts editor.
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