Small lineup still amplifies Linfield talent in band battle

I’ll admit, I was wholly unimpressed when I saw the Battle of the Bands lineup. Three bands? Really?
Linfield has more talent than that.

Battle of the Bands should be an exciting display of the best that Linfield has to offer, competing in front of their peers for a title. Three bands just seemed disappointing.

Part of it made sense to me. The seven-band lineup featured last year, filled with Linfield favorites such as Jesse Hughey, Joy Nelson and The Mustaches, have all graduated now. Jack Ruby Presents, the most notable band residing at Linfield over the last few years, has moved on as well.

Still, the assumption would be that those musicians would be replaced by a new generation of artists. That didn’t seem to have occurred last week.

Noticeably absent was the band Na Hemo, who would have been a heavy favorite had it entered. Na Hemo came in first place at Battle of the Bands two years ago and second place a year ago. Without Na Hemo on the roster, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to the show.

However, I was wrong to think of not attending.All three bands came and proved that the show didn’t need to be long to be great. Showcasing different styles and talents, each band rocked the crowd adding its own element to the show.

Evan O’Kelley blew most of the audience away on the electric guitar while Jessie Goergen did what Jessie Goergen always does: She showed impressive stage presence while wowing the audience with her pipes and mixing in a distinctive country overtone.

Brittany Baker and her band followed and mixed it up with some piano, some spoons and several terrific female vocalists. By the time the band Prowler stepped on the stage, I think most of the audience was already trying to decide who should win. Prowler, led by Danny Brown and Andrew Sherman, made the decision a little harder. Fueled by the energy of the crowd, Prowler played two songs that had most of the auditorium up on its feet. Brown, who was talented, playful and loud, was the best kind of frontman.

I don’t think anyone was sure who was going to win as the judges tallied the votes. It didn’t matter too much to me because the show was a success regardless. There were three talented groups of individuals who all deserved to win. The only thing that could’ve made that show better was a few more songs by each, as they only had about ten minutes each to perform.

Prowler was finally announced as the winner, and it wasn’t just the band wearing smiles. Practically everyone in the audience was feeling good, and all three bands were aware they had played well. That’s a pretty good Battle of the Bands.

I guess I need to have a little more faith in the small amount of artists here. They’re talented — really talented.

Matt Olson/Columnist
Matt Olson can be reached at

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