Meet the bands ready to battle to headline Springfest

First published in The Shorthorn in March 2010.

Four bands will fight it out Friday night for a chance to open this year’s Springfest concert.

First place, awarded by three judges, also comes with $200. The judges will use musical talent, stage presence, originality and crowd appeal as criteria.

A secondary prize of $200 will go to the People’s Choice Award. Attendees receive one chip each and place them in containers representing their favorite band.

All of the bands have at least one member who attends the university. Bowling and Billiards’ doors open at 6:30 p.m. The first band performs at 7:15 p.m.

The Pajammas

The Pajammas promise to bring high-octane energy to the Bowling and Billiards stage.

The group grew up listening to similar music and when they play, it’s almost always a solid show, singer and bassist Robbie Clark said.

“I wish I could say we’re going to do something special for this show in particular, but every show we do is just fun,” the theater arts senior said.

A normal Pajammas set is 30-45 minutes long. To comply with the 15-minute limit, the group chose the cream of the crop, Clark said.

There should be four songs squeezed in the allotted time.

“We sat down and said what are our four best songs, what are the songs we never leave off of a setlist, what songs can we tear through and rip apart and just knock the crowd on their asses,” he said.

He said winning would mean exposure more than anything else. Springfest would likely be a larger crowd than the band is used to, he said. He said the band isn’t focusing on winning but just putting on a show like they always do.

“When we’re on stage it’s almost like by our powers combined, we are The Pajammas,” he said.

He said the show itself isn’t about precise musicianship but having fun and getting the crowd into it.

“People don’t ever go to a rock show, much less a punk rock show, to hear the CD,” he said. “They go to hear musicians playing their instruments. So we allow ourselves to jump around, and with jumping may come hitting a wrong note or two.”

The band is playing three 30-minute shows at Six Flags Over Texas on Sunday. He said the band will play anywhere, from a soup kitchen to a high school.

“We’ll play whenever, wherever,” he said.

He said the band just wants to continue playing music wherever they can. Hopefully the group can tour one day, he said.

When it comes down to the group’s musical influences, it’s a complicated genealogy, he said. It includes MXPX, Sublime, Real Big Fish, Pennywise, Blink-182 and the Offspring having children and those children having children and eventually giving birth to The Pajammas, Clark said.

“It’s a long family tree, but those are our influences, those are who we look up to,” he said. “We’re pretty much just good old fashioned, high energy, positive vibes, party, hang out with your friends punk rock.”

Waking Alice

Waking Alice will bring some hard rock edge to Friday’s Battle of the Bands, according to its front man.

Guitarist and singer Michael Garcia, an interdisciplinary studies junior, said a lot of the crowds the band normally plays to are older people in bars. That fan base isn’t likely to follow the group’s career, he said.

Enduring exposure is one of the main reasons the group entered the competition, Garcia said.

“College kids are more apt to follow around bands,” he said.

Garcia said loud guitars and heavy rock best defines the group, but some might describe them as more metal than rock. “Some Saint 2009” on the band’s MySpace presents this mixture in one song. There’s no screaming or growls, but the music itself has a metal edge to it, with plenty of staccato, synchronized stops and hard rhythms.

The band is ready to move forward after being around for a few years, he said. The members plan to record an album later this semester and tour off of it. The new songs on the record are sure to make it into the group’s Battle of the Band set list, though he said he’s concerned about the 15-minute time slot.

“Our songs, they’re not gigantic epics or anything, but a five-minute song will really eat into that time,” he said.

But the band does have three songs they hope to squeeze into the time, all new and appearing on the upcoming record.

The $200 that comes with either winning first prize or audience choice would really help with the new CD’s production costs. But even if the band doesn’t win, Garcia said the recording will happen.

He’s even competing this Thursday in a karaoke contest for $1,000 to raise money, he said.

He said audience members should expect to have fun and experience a high-energy show. He doesn’t have a backup plan if music doesn’t work out as a career, he said. He works at a recording studio now and is taking music classes under his interdisciplinary studies.

“If I had to have a backup, I couldn’t even think of what it would be,” Garcia said.

Besides, he said, if someone has a backup plan they’re just planning to fail.

The Dirty Dandies

The Dirty Dandies are interested in adding to UTA’s music community, not just winning the Battle of the Bands. The group helps other bands at UTA record music, shares gear and generally lends a helping hand, drummer and undeclared junior Christopher Mansfield said.

“We’re kind of fortunate to be in a group of other bands that all kind of share similar ideas,” he said.

The members will also be giving away the band’s self-recorded and produced CD at the show. Mansfield described the music as blues rock but heavily influenced from 1960s and 1970s era music. All of the members sing, calling to mind their Beatles influence.

“We really like a lot in that era — The Kinks and Velvet Underground,” he said. “We kind of pull from all over the map.”

The band has an eclectic style, said university studies senior Chris Carfa, one of the group’s guitarist. And as Mansfield said, the band has something for everyone.

Right now, the band is just concentrating on getting more shows, recording and upgrading equipment, he said. And most of the members, like Carfa and Mansfield, play in other bands as well. But they’re all friends and help push one another along.

“It’s a very collective effort,” Carfa said.

And Mansfield said shows help the band focus the members’ energy to get everything right.

The group took a break a short while ago and only regrouped a year ago, Carfa said. So the members are working on increasing their exposure.

“We’ve been kind of reworking stuff,” he said. “It’d kind of help get it going.”

Mansfield said the group isn’t really making money at this now, but it’s a hobby the band will keep even if they are in the same place in five years. Carfa said he didn’t even know the prize until this week.

And it’d be nice to add to UTA and Arlington’s music community and help it blossom.

“There’s a lot of stuff sprouting up in Arlington,” Carfa said. “It’d be nice if culture was one of them.”

Man Factory

Man Factory may be playing for the opening spot at Springfest, but its music summons nostalgia for playing a classic video game – Street Fighter.

The group released for free download in 2007, guitarist and vocalist Harrison White said. And, true to the name, all of the songs are inspired by the video game. In April, the band will officially release the sequel although the music can be found at . Street Fight! Round One

“We’ve been at this a while and just released ,” White, an advertising senior, said. “We record, produce, perform, and give birth to all of our music.”

The music isn’t Sega Genesis-inspired blips and boops though. The band employs a power-pop arrangement with lyrics that seem ordinary enough for a pop song, though fans of the video games are sure to pick out character storylines and in-game animations. White described the band’s sound as something more than video game-soundtrack fare.

“Chock full of ‘momma I’m comin’ home late’ guitar riffs and vocal harmonies,” he said. And White said the band would be thrilled to have the chance to open Springfest. “It would mean a dream come true and a Springfest so grand that all other springs in my lifetime would feel like winters,” he said.

Even if the band doesn’t win, the members want to continue playing their unique brand of music, Harrison said.

“We’re setting our sights as high as these nerdy video game-themed songs will take us,” he said. “That leaves us anywhere, between headlining a show at the new Cowboys Stadium, to playing someone’s sad, lonely house party.”

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