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Battle of the Bands

Scene Staff Report | Thursday, April 22, 2010

Identity Crisis
Specializing in a mix of original songs, remakes and covers, Identity Crisis is composed of senior Nick Morrissey, juniors Steve Atkinson and Matt Stolze and sophomores Danny McGiffin and Drew Davis. The band formed after the Stanford Benefit Bash last year, but has played at Legends several times and hope to eventually play at Finny’s and Fever. Identity Crisis is influenced by an amalgam of artists, just a taste of which are Led Zeppelin, Scorpions, Green Day, Jimmy Buffett and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Intrigued? They have even done a Lady Gaga remake in the past and Atkinson, the lead guitarist, also specializes in performing back flips and other tricks during Identity Crisis’ performances.

The Carolyn Sullivan Quintet
This jazz blues quintet plays “music that’s a throwback to another era, the uniquely American art form of jazz,” said sophomore Matt Nagy, the band’s saxophone player. With senior Carolyn Sullivan on vocals, James Jones on drums, Mike Rodio on piano and junior Sam Novario on bass, the band plays a variety of jazz, blues, swing, Latin and funk music. Their influences are music legends such as John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Vince Guaraldi and Stevie Wonder.

Cookies N Cream
This band draws its influences from British economist John Maynard Keynes and the Dalai Lama and likes to claim that they play “a little bit of everything. A little funk, little rock, little soul. We like to take songs and play them in the style of a different and contrasting genre,” said junior Packy Griffin, who plays guitar and sings. Prepare to see Cookies N Cream this weekend with Holy Cross’s Adam Onderdonk on bass, sophomores Eugene Staples on keyboard and vocals and James Jones on drums and IUSB’s Larry Redding on vocals.

Citizen Kane II
This fairly new band, which includes senior Brian Prendergast on guitar, sophomore Mike Rodio on vocals and keyboard, freshman Luke Westby on bass and senior Shea Bettwy on drums and percussion, plays a mix of rock, funk, reggae and jazz. The group draws from a wide range of influences, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Police, Matisyahu, Phoenix, the Beatles, Dispatch and Incubus. The group “formed last week just in time to make the demo for the Battle of the Bands. Shea and I have been making music together for the past four years and our styles fit really nicely together with Luke’s and Mike’s,” said Prendergast.

Samurai Jim
This five-piece rock band started in 2008 and made its debut at last year’s Battle of the Bands. It consists of two South Bend residents — Jim Miller on drums and Shaun Pluta with vocals — and three Notre Dame students: seniors Terrence Egan on lead guitar and Pete Bruckbauer on bass, as well as its newest member, MSA student Tom Florez on rhythm guitar. Bruckbauer told the Observer that “Samurai Jim” comes from founding member Miller’s nickname, bestowed upon him after “an incident with a samurai sword.” Their original music has an alternative or progressive rock sound, although their playlists include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jimi Hendrix and the Flaming Lips. Besides last year’s Battle of the Bands, Samurai Jim has played at bars like Club 23 and O’Sullivans Crossing, the B1 Block Party and other Legends concerts. “There’s also been some memorable house parties,” Bruckbauer said. “Especially when we played in costume on Halloween.”

A Face for Radio
Comprised of sophomores Will Thwaites, Adam Cowden, Kyle Collins and Mike George, A Face for Radio will make its debut Friday. Thwaites, lyricist and singer, characterizes their music as a “hybrid between hip-hop and alternative rock” and about 75 percent of their material is original. That’s impressive, due to the fact that they’ve only been together for a week now. A Face for Radio played at the Stanford Benefit Bash and also headlined the kickoff of the Bald and the Beautiful. Check out this band with radio-only aspirations on Friday, and look for next year’s back-up leprechaun, Mike George, on drums.

Woodward is the first full-band ensemble that the (colloquially-deemed) “Brothers Gunty” have organized to perform their original music. Consisting of the Gunty brothers, senior Joshua and sophomore Nick, seniors Dave Lucas, Joe McLean and Tom Nania, the band draws from an eclectic field of artistic influences, producing an “organic yet ethereal sound by combining new folk with experimental post-rock,” said Joshua. Woodward promises to be a tough contender in Friday’s battle. They played an awesome set Saturday night at Legends, opening for matt pond PA with excellent original songs like “Asleep Awake” and “May,” and will also play a late afternoon South Quad set Saturday.

Toes on the Nose
Playing the first show in their young career, Toes on the Nose promise something different: the smooth sound of reggae. Freshmen Billy Kearns and Cory Bernard and juniors McKenna Nakamura and Sam Novario have got skill, enthusiasm and sweet, sweet bass lines to spare and they’re looking to spread them around. Everyone should be ready to have their faces melted by TOTN’s cool island groove. Their unique sound has been described by some to be the bastard love child of Fergie and Bob Marley chillaxing with the spirit of the islands. The handsome quartet is looking forward to sending out some good vibrations for Friday night’s wonderful crowd.