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Fiery battle of bands grooves, spins, jams

Photo
KEVIN KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Music freshman Patrick Beers, guitarist and singer for Shitwheel, prepares to light a cymbal on fire with his already flaming guitar. Shitwheel was a part of last night's "Battle of the Bands."
By Nate Buchik
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday November 26, 2002

On a night when rock band Shitwheel tossed flaming guitars in the air in an elaborate attempt to win over the audience, Christina Moussa's simple two-piece folk band took home first place at the finale of Battle of the Bands a competition between UA bands for gift certificates and spots in future concerts.

The conclusion to Battle of the Bands gave four bands Shitwheel, Christina Moussa, The Sarcastic Atoms and Gorilla Behind Bars the chance to wow a crowd of over 400 people on the UA Mall with 20-minute sets of music that included elements of jazz, rock, folk and punk.

University Activities Board presented the two first-round battles and the finals in collaboration with Associated Students of the University of Arizona.

"I think it's great that the students came out to support local music," said UAB concerts director Dana Verbin.

Moussa's band, consisting of her voice and a male playing acoustic guitar, won a spot in the Rock for Rialto concert, a track on the accompanying live CD and $150 dollars to spend at Guitar Center, while second place band Gorilla Behind Bars won the chance to play at the UAB "Groovin' on the Grass" concert next semester.

"I think we just played from the heart, told our story and, hopefully, touched people," said Moussa, an undeclared freshman.

Moussa said that everyone played well and would have been happy with a win from any of the four bands.

The bands each played for about 20 minutes and had to take advantage of their time in any way they could to get students to go vote for them during the battle.

Shitwheel lead singer and guitar player Patrick Beers pulled out all the stops.

"I think (our set) was kind of shitty but we lit stuff on fire at the end," Beers said. "It's always fun to see stuff get set on fire."

Flashing, spinning psychedelic mushrooms, a strobe light, a skull and a flaming drum set were also part of Shitwheel's elaborate stage display.

Each band had to have at least one member from UA to compete in the event.

Students voted two bands from each of the first-round battles into the finals and then voted for the winner during last night's concert.

Members of the Charles Darwin Experience, a UA improvisational comedy group, hosted the battle and provided humor between sets. But punk band Gorilla Behind Bars may have won the crowd over with their colorful song about someone's mother.

"Me and your mom had a good time she made me breakfast in bed," the band sang during the chorus of the final song of the two-hour battle.

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