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A musical Friday night fight

A&E takes a look at the five acts in Spring Jam’s Battle of the Bands.

At the Spring Jam Battle of the Bands next Friday, five student bands will slug it out for the chance to play in front of their largest crowd ever — opening for the festival’s headliner, Mac Miller.

Hippo Campus

The closest thing this competition has to a Vampire Weekend sound-a-like, Hippo Campus brings a high-energy indie pop that the rest of the acts lack. Verging on indie folk, the quartet creates a nervous energy for listeners. Their sound is downright cloudy but in a big-white-cotton-ball way. As the fog machines settle, these high flyers are looking to come out on top.

Treading North

The musical style of this self-proclaimed “dream-funk” seven-piece isn’t to be trifled with. With vocals from Gabe Rodreick reminiscent of Tom Waits, the roaring jazz saxophone of Tyler Croat, smooth guitar licks and a heart-thumping bass, it might be hard to fathom that these cats have never played in any musical competition before. Their strong yearning style feels like treading water in a smooth, yet frantic, doggy paddle.

Wealthy Relative & Sayth

Wistful wordsmith Dan Forke, or Wealthy Relative, is no stranger to performing in front of large masses offered by Spring Jam. Having competed in last year’s Battle of the Bands as a solo act, Forke is excited to show judges what he can do now that he has childhood friend Eric Wells, Sayth, by his side. The duo creates an existential and eccentrically moody rhythm, forming a concrete foundation for melancholy skyscrapers made of the pair’s lyrics.

Violet Eyes

With just a Facebook page and a YouTube channel marking their existence online, these five rockers have their work cut out for them. Only recently conceived, the fledgling band augments their indie rock style with various covers, most notably a rendition of The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy.” With a slight punk twist, the group showcases screaming guitar solos from Grant Marks and powerhouse vocals from lead singer Maeve Moynihan.

Male Models

A soothing tide of indie rock and pop flows from Male Models, a four-person band of musicians from the University of Minnesota. With wildly different vocal styles, dual lead singers Alex Breyfogle and Griffin Fillipitch change not only the tempo, but the mood of their songs as they switch off. This platoon of versatile musical assassins is an indie garage band one second and a slowed, almost country-rock outfit the next.


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