The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 27, 2010

Battle of the Bands at Buster's

MANKATO — Four bands are preparing for battle at Buster’s Friday night.

Buster’s is partnering with 95.7 The Blaze, Pachyderm Studios and Full Moon Productions for the annual Battle of the Bands, featuring Sympathy Denied, Mood Beside, Defuze and Cimmerian.

“(The music) genre is all over the charts, but for the most part, they range from reggae to rock with some bluegrass in there,” said Matt Little, owner of Buster’s.

The bands will have 45 minutes to perform their best songs before a panel of judges and fans.

The winner will get $100 and will compete in the finale March 19, when three other winning bands from battles will compete for $500, among other prizes, including: recording time at Pachyderm Recording Studios in Cannon Falls; one track placement on the annual Pachyderm Studio Compilation CD for 2010; and a headlining performance at Buster’s.

Jeff Lien, 35, is the lead guitar player and co-songwriter for Defuze. Lien of Rochester, who attended Minnesota State University and South Central College, said Buster’s was one of his favorite hang-outs when he lived in Mankato.

“They always had great live music,” he said.

Lien said the band has worked with Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls recording a CD, which is how the band heard about the event.

“We would like to win the event, naturally, but we have been trying to get into the Mankato scene, and this would be a great opportunity for us to get out in front of the great crowds Mankato has,” said Lien, who describes his band’s sound as “straight-up rock” akin to Nickleback, Hinder and Breaking Benjamin.

 Adam Schultze, the 21-year-old guitarist with band Sympathy Denied, said he is excited about the opportunity. The band is based in Lakefield and performs in and around Windom and Mankato, as well as the Twin Cities.

Because the band members are younger, ranging in age from 19 to 22, the fans are also younger, making it hard for some of them under 21 to see their shows. The Battle of the Bands will certainly be great exposure.

Christopher Larson, 28, is the lead vocalist for Cimmerian, which has musical roots in Mankato. Although he lives in south Minneapolis, he attended MSU and used to DJ at Boomtown, Dutler’s Bowl and for Double Trouble Productions in Mankato where he was known as “DJ Tappy.”

Larson said Cimmerian is a hard-working band and hopes the event helps make new fans.

Christy Steinbach, owner of Full Moon, which is a black/death metal distribution and records company, said the competing bands are found through Myspace, Facebook, City Pages and acquaintances of the companies holding the competitions.

Steinbach said she hopes to see a lot of people at the show.

“It would be great to bring in a bigger crowd to support these bands and the local music scene,” she said.

The judges will include a panel of people from Buster’s, Pachyderm Recording Studio, Rhapsody Music and 95.7 “The Blaze.”

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