UMN Battle of the Bands: A musical preview

Prepare for a night of indie-rock and hip-hop.

Students and the public attend the Battle of the Bands on Friday, April 20, 2012, in front of Coffman Union.

Image by Blake Leigh, Daily File Photo

Students and the public attend the Battle of the Bands on Friday, April 20, 2012, in front of Coffman Union.

by Katie Lauer

Battling to play the Spring Jam stage, these five Battle of the Bands finalists should be a nice musical warm-up for Saturday’s main acts. Here’s what to expect:

Early Eyes

“A mix of California-rock, soul and pop” doesn’t fully describe this quartet’s sound. Released less than a month ago, the funk of “Waste of Time” and the flow of “Change Your Season” will have every foot tapping. These singles are just one key element of the band’s catchy, blues-rock live sound.

{The Empty Sets}

This five-man band brings early ’00s rock back, and they know it. Imagine the brainchild of Matchbox Twenty and Gavin DeGraw with a little bit of Foo Fighters mixed in, and you get close to {The Empty Sets}. Without much officially released music besides their single “Sunk,” Friday’s set will be a surprise.

Half Mannequin

On first listen, Half Mannequin’s release “Summer Songs” sounds like a mash-up of an upbeat The Smiths with a tinge of former winner, Hippo Campus. Take standout single “Coffee” — the name speaks for itself in this peppy track. The band’s classic indie-rock sound pairs with shimmery guitars for a happy, cinematic soundtrack to the ever closer warmer days.

Love Sequence

If guitar is your thing, this four-piece band is for you. With their latest EP release, “Look at Me,” Love Sequence features a bit of ’80s synth pop (check out “I Want You With Me”), transitions to a harder rock sound and even channels a bit of The 1975 in “Cigarette.” Led by strong guitars, they make the combination work.


As the only hip-hop act on the ticket, Vessel has something new to offer the showdown. He soulfully raps about anything from love and dreams, to Donald Trump, to his GPA, with ease. The ’90s R&B reminiscent “Navigation” and the newly-released “Discussion” will have listeners turning up to his quick, produced beats.

What: The Battle of the Bands: Final Round

When: April 21, 5 p.m.

Where: Coffman Memorial Union Front Plaza, 300 Washington Ave. S.E., Minneapolis

How much: Free