Mississippi State University’s Battle of the Bands, an annual competition put on by Music Maker Productions, took place Sept. 6, 2019 in the Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall.
Rachel Foreman, a senior communication major and the public relations chair for Music Maker Productions, said there were more submissions for this year’s Battle of the Bands than ever before.
“A couple months ago, we announced on all of our social media platforms that applications are live and anyone can apply to perform, and you do not have to be a Mississippi State student to apply,” Foreman said.
Six acts are chosen from a pool of band entries submitted in advance. Bands are asked to send in an audition video, which is then posted on the Music Maker Productions’ Facebook page.
The bands ask their supporters to like and share their Facebook posts in order to win a spot on the Bettersworth Auditorium stage.
“Whoever gets the most likes on Facebook is a finalist, and they perform at Battle of the Bands,” Foreman said.
One winner, who will open for T-Pain at Bulldog Bash, is crowned, but there are also performance opportunities for the other five bands at Bulldog Bash.
“The other five bands, if they choose to accept the opportunity, can perform on the local stage for Bulldog Bash, which is during Maroon Market from 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., on the opposite side of Downtown Starkville,” Foreman said.
Yonder Windbreaker members Sam Evangelista, Matthew Reynolds, Blake Mauldin, Matthieux Davis and Wes Yarber put on an outstanding performance at Battle of the Bands. The judges were blown away with not only the vocals, but also with the band’s professionalism. Opening with a hit song by Paramore, Yonder Windbreaker had the crowd automatically on its feet. Evangelista, Yonder Windbreaker’s lead singer, aims for an alternative funk vibe for the band.
“We did not want our performance to be too alternative rock-ish because we wanted the audience to be able to sing along, which is why we picked the songs we did even though they were not too alike, but we wanted to keep a central theme,” Evangelista said.
Though their performance was telltale of an older, more experienced band, Yonder Windbreaker is actually newly established.
“Matthew Reynolds and I have covered songs in the past, and we have been talking about starting a band since Freshman year, and around July 31 we made a GroupMe, and the band began there, which was about a month ago,” Evangelista said.
“We all know each other because we have played in church together, but the band is fairly new,” Evangelista said.
The band does not have any plans for an EP, but never knows what the future may hold.
“Blake and everyone else writes songs, so we have been wanting to, but we did not have enough time to be able to perform an original at Battle of the Bands,” Evangelista said.
However, Evangelista said the band could have a few of their own songs ready to perform at Bulldog Bash.
“For Bulldog Bash we might have one or two original songs ready to perform because Blake has some ideas that he has been wanting to show us,” Evangelista said.
Madi Leona, an audience member at Battle of the Bands, was a big fan of the winning band and enjoyed the songs they chose to perform.
“I was excited to see Yonder Windbreaker win because I believe they were the best at engaging with the audience,” Leona said. “I enjoyed the good mix of genres represented during their short set.”
Audience members at Bulldog Bash can expect the same alternative funk vibe from Yonder Windbreaker that was exhibited at Battle of the Bands.
“We’ve discussed and we want to keep some of the same songs from this performance, and we want everyone to dance and sing along,” Evangelista said. “For Bulldog Bash, it is less about us, the band on stage, and who we are, but more about the atmosphere and to get everyone hype for T-Pain.”