A real battle or just plain boring?

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Killian Beeler, Contributing Writer

As bassist for Ron Paul and The Sophomore Six, I would like to thank all those who made Battle of the Bands possible. It was an awesome experience and I’m so glad I got to perform. That being said, I would like to make a critique in an attempt to make Battle of the Bands an even better experience in future years.

Ande Hawkins of Ron Paul and The Sophomore Six –Photo by Ron Paul and the Sophomore Six

Why is Battle of the Bands decided by a very small panel of upperclassmen who aren’t necessarily any more qualified than other students to be the judges? Traditionally, Battles of the Bands are decided by popular vote. If people are worried about it becoming a popularity contest, why not have a diverse panel of judges who aren’t students, like professors or even local music critics– someone who has no knowledge of the bands before the actual show?

I bring this up not because I am bitter about the final results of this year’s Battle of the Bands, but because the current panel system led to a pretty boring battle. It was less of a battle and more of a Republican national convention. You could pretty much predict the top two winners the day performance times were announced. The last band, The Wizard’s Teacup and the Sugarcubes, as seniors, would get first. The second to last band, Dyl Pickles & The Rosebuddies, comprised of juniors, would get second, and then a few sophomore bands would fight it out for third.

The Wizard’s Teacup and the Sugarcubes was the best band by far, but the fact that the band members pretty much knew, because of a very small panel of upperclassmen judges (who already had seen the band’s previous performances and knew the band members), that their band would win, led to a somewhat unexciting show. Their performance was less of a “we are going to play our hearts out and win this thing” kind of show and more of a post-election acceptance speech.

The Dyl Pickles and the Rosebuddies –Photo by Rebecca Rosen

The Wizard’s Teacup, by far, has the most talent I have ever seen in a University of Dallas band. They have the best rock musician at UD in Michael Malpiedi, and some amazing vocals and guitar work from Thomas Spring and Danny Fitzpatrick. After seeing them perform last spring at TGIT, I was really excited for their Battle of the Bands performance this year. Yet, I feel like I prefer the sloppy but heartfelt rock-and-roll performance of last year’s winners Buddha D’Souza and The Guys Upstairs. Maybe it was the fact that Buddha D’Souza were competing against one heck of a great fellow senior band, Tonic and Lime, and had no surety that they would win. But something about Danny Hellerman’s leather pants, Phil Cerroni’s punk stage presence, and Rose Healy jumping onstage with several other girls to scream out “Gimme Shelter,” made their performance exciting and special.

The Wizard’s Teacup and the Sugarcubes put on a good show. Its performance was better than those of Dyl Pickles and The Rosebuddies, and Ron Paul and The Sophomore Six, but not to some great extent, not to the extent that everyone should have known that they would win long before they actually played. While The Wizard’s Teacup excelled in instrumentation, Dyl Pickles excelled in producing a well-crafted, tight but rocking sound out of only three members (as opposed to The Wizard’s Teacup’s eight-member band) and Ron Paul in energy and chaotically joyous fan interaction. It should also be noted that both Dyl Pickles’ and Ron Paul’s respective setlists contained many well-written originals that were unusually capable of thrilling the audience, atypical for a college where, it seems, only the most well-known covers stir up any reception. The Wizard’s Teacup and the Sugarcubes took the safe route of playing all covers.

The Wizard’s Teacup and the Sugarcubes –Photo by Rebecca Rosen

If all of this were taken into account, and the winners were either decided by popular vote or a panel not made of students, it would not have been so obvious who would win. The Wizard’s Teacup would have had to come out stronger, more energetic, and interact far more with the crowd to claim a clear victory. They would have had to put on a thrilling set that, as musicians, they are more than capable of doing: a set that would have been so much fun for the many rock nerds in the UD community.

I encourage all students who are rock musicians (especially the current freshmen) to pick up their guitars and prepare for next year’s battle. Put on a show that would do former UD Battle of the Bands legends Bill Farris, Buddha D’Souza and punk rockers The Aristocracy proud!

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