The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Two Canes triumphs in Battle of the Bands 2023

For its sixth-annual amphitheater event, SCOPE Productions’ Battle of the Bands lineup included local favorites Fishbait, Dirty Blonde, Two Canes, and Critical Mass.
Cody Blissett
Attendees participate in a mosh pit during Battle of the Bands hosted by Scope Productions at the Iowa Memorial Union River Amphitheater on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. Four different local bands competed throughout the evening and placed after attendees voted.

If you made the decision to walk along the Iowa River’s north banks Tuesday evening, you’d likely be met with the quiet serenity of leisurely water and the comforting breeze of a hot day finally cooling.

Choose to make the walk just a day later, and you would find yourself in the middle of an intense mosh pit fueled by four dueling rock bands at the sixth annual Battle of the Bands.

The event’s lineup included performances from four local bands at the Iowa Memorial Union’s amphitheater on Wednesday with the event hosted by SCOPE Productions — an event the organization has hosted since 2017.

Last year’s Battle of the Bands saw local band 24thankyou take home the win, among competitors Funkatude and Soup RIOT!.

SCOPE general manager Cat Dooley said she and her team select the bands for the event by advertising an application. She noted that SCOPE typically receives three to four applications per event.

“It’s different this year,” Dooley said. “We had more bands apply than we could fit on the bill.”

Dooley, along with SCOPE’s directors, had their members vote on the four bands they would most like to see at this year’s event.

The vote concluded with the groups Fishbait, Dirty Blonde, Two Canes, and Critical Mass as the bands set to duke it out at the event.

Opening the battle was power-trio rock band Fishbait, taking the stage at sunset. Within minutes, the calm, mostly seated crowd was blasted with hard, proud metal rock. Guitarist Thomas Halligan and drummer Nathaniel Grant turned heads, and their lead singer’s powerful voice and kept them looking forward.

Following Fishbait, Dirty Blonde brought a nostalgic, indie-rock feel to the outdoor space. Bassist Eamon Reed and guitarist Nick Jackson made the most of their space on the stage, bobbing their heads to the beat of their own drummer, Charlie Bell; a beat that seemed to converse with a crowd full of swaying UI students.

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Cam Stenberg, a fourth-year undergraduate student at Beloit College, noted that she and her friend Zeke Kingsbury drove all the way down from Wisconsin to see Dirty Blonde perform at the event.

“Dirty Blonde’s performance really shone through tonight,” Kingsbury said.

Next, energy was high as local hard rock band Two Canes took the stage.

Lead singer Myles Evangelista revved up the seated crowd before urging fans to rush to the stage, to which they happily obliged.

Fans at the front most of the crowd linked arms as they nodded and swayed to the intense beat brought by drummer Chloe Weidl, while band members Evan Weidl, Jack Moore and Edwin Svoboda glided on the floor with their guitars facing supine.

They knew how to work the crowd, with attendees moshing to the point of injury during their song “Mouth Shut.”

With a tough act to follow, Critical Mass was met with dwindled energy from the crowd, the majority of whom had resumed sitting. Besides some head nods, the crowd seemed to have lost the energy they brought to the previous act.

However, the mood shifted as the band motioned the crowd out of their seats and on their feet once again. Within seconds, the crowd was back to their previous position below center stage.

Guitarist Aaron Kruger and bassist Trevin Neels brought another banging guitar performance with intricate solos and unique chord progressions.

Lead singer Cole McKillip made his way in and out of the moshing crowd, with Two Canes band members seen dancing in the center of it all:

Each band lent their support to one another through the event, dancing and cheering during each other’s performances.

Dooley took the stage to announce the winner after all the attendees had voted for their favorite acts.

The winner of the 2023 Battle of the Bands was Two Canes, followed by Dirty Blonde in second, Fishbait in third, and Critical Mass in fourth.

Both Two Canes and Dirty Blonde won cash prizes in the amount of $225 and $75 respectively, according to SCOPE financial director Claire Benson.

Two Canes will reign this year’s champion until next year’s anticipated battle. Until then, SCOPE is focused on the upcoming production, the annual Homecoming Show.

Editor’s note: Both Evan Weidl and Jack Moore are employed at The Daily Iowan.

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About the Contributors
Avi Lapchick
Avi Lapchick, Arts Editor
Avi Lapchick is an arts editor at The Daily Iowan. A fourth-year student studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa, she previously held the positions of staff photojournalist, summer arts editor, and assistant arts editor at the DI. She is happiest when she is writing or painting.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.