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Bands battle on Mall for fans' hearts, votes

By Devin Simmons
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday November 5, 2002

If you heard a group of people by the union shouting "Shit wheel!" last night, you weren't hearing things.

The UA Mall was filled with the sound of music last night as the University Activities Board, in collaboration, with Associated Students of the University of Arizona, hosted the first round of a Battle of the Bands ÷ a competition between local bands for money and future gigs.

The battle, which will take place throughout the month of November, will feature eight local bands, each of whom have at least one UA student member. Last night was half of the first round and featured bands, Shotstar, Christine Moussa, Shitwheel, and goodlikepain.

"The event is an opportunity for UA students with bands to show off their talent," said UAB concerts director Dana Verbin.

The bands represented a mix of everything from punk to metal to the lone guitar and voice of Christine Moussa. The participants were chosen by a panel of people in the UAB/student government office.

Christine Moussa won last night's first round. Judging by the crowd's ovation after she finished her set, it wasn't hard to see why.

Jamie Underwood, a family studies freshman who attended the event, said she was voting for Moussa.

"She was absolutely amazing," said Underwood. "She should win."

Moussa, an undecided freshman, said that this was her first-ever performance in a live setting, except for one song that she sang at her high school graduation last year.

"I like to sing," Moussa said. "I have never done anything like this but I figured I should take a chance. I am more nervous now then I was before I sang."

John Beers, member of the band "Shitwheel," and a political science sophomore, said that this was also his band's first live show.

"Basically, we did this show so that we could freak out the squares," Beers said. His brother Patrick, a guitar performance freshmen and the lead singer, said that the band did the show for the free chicken wings.

Beers used football terminology to describe his band's performance.

"I think we came out strong in the first quarter and took the lead into the half," said Beers. "Then, in the second half, everything just came together."

Each band is given 15 minutes to try to woo the audience into voting for them, Verbin said. The two bands with the most votes in each segment of the first round will go on to play in the finals on Nov. 25.

The next segment of the first round takes place on the Mall from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 18 and features The Sarcastic Atoms, Table For One, Yellow Cabs and Gorilla Behind Bars.

The overall winner receives a $160 gift certificate to Guitar Center and a spot in a concert titled "Rock for Rialto," which includes a spot on a live CD that will be sold in stores.

The second place band will get a spot in UAB's "Groovin' on the Grass" concert series that should take place next semester, Verbin said.

Matt Hidalgo, a psychology freshman, whose brother is in Gorilla Behind Bars, said the UA should do more events like this.

"This is a great event," said Hidalgo. "The Tucson music scene deserves as much exposure as it can get."

For more information about the event, contact the UAB office at 621-6021 or e-mail UAB at uabattleofthebands@yahoo.com.


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