City of Steamboat Springs Teen Programs presents Teen Battle of the Bands at 9 p.m. today in the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel Ballroom.

Photo by Matt Stensland

City of Steamboat Springs Teen Programs presents Teen Battle of the Bands at 9 p.m. today in the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel Ballroom.

For those about to rock

Teen Battle of the Bands runs the gamut of styles


Past Event

Teen Battle of the Bands

  • Friday, May 16, 2008, 9 p.m.
  • The Steamboat Grand, 2300 Mount Werner Circle, Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / $5



¤ Shot Down and Dumb, influenced by the Grateful Dead

¤ Lumber Jack Jim, classic rock/jam rock

¤ The Garden Gnomes, acoustic/rock

¤ The Mariachi Trio, rock/classic rock

¤ Undecided, alternative

¤ On the Fritz, ska/alternative

¤ The Interjections, hardcore punk

¤ Waistband Tuck, classic rock/alternative

¤ Sign of Tragedy, metalcore

Band profile: Shot Down and Dumb

Shot Down and Dumb band members Jace Wirth, Sean Kuusinen and Graham Geppert have vied in the Teen Battle of the Bands before. Last year, there was a mosh pit between the group's songs. Needless to say, they look forward to competing again.

The guys have been together about two years now, and they enjoy hanging out and making music. Wirth plays 12-string acoustic guitar and handles the lead vocals, Kuusinen strums the mandolin and acoustic guitar, and Geppert rocks out on the upright bass.

Their music is not your typical rock, country or metal.

"You can't really classify us," Wirth said. "We play whatever we feel like."

Wirth explained that his band plays "hippie" music, a break in style from the majority of acts in the battle.

In addition to the Grateful Dead, the band is influenced by musicians such as Bob Dylan, Bill Monroe, Bob Marley, The String Cheese Incident and Yonder Mountain String Band.

The guys have played a few gigs around town and like to play on sidewalks during the summer. It doesn't hurt the band to have their parents' support, which they return in kind by playing a little music from the older generation when they're practicing. The three friends aren't sure whether they'll continue with music as a career path - for now they're just in it for the good times.

"Everyone wants to make a million dollars as a musician," Wirth said. "But we're friends, and we just like to get together and play."

- Paula Ninger, Teen Style

— Going into his fifth year as a judge for the Teen Battle of the Bands, Paulie Anderson is looking forward to hearing what local teenagers have to say right before they go on stage.

"It's so fun to see the kids out of their element. Typically, they're just in school with their rules and their parents, and they might be introverted," Anderson said. "This is the one time, for some of them in their high school careers, that they get to be the extrovert."

At 9 p.m. today, nine bands from Routt County and surrounding areas will take the stage in the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel Ballroom, playing three songs to win over a panel of music industry veterans.

Anderson and others will rate them on originality, musicianship, sound, lyrics and appearance. Although it's best for a band to fulfill the requirements of each category, Anderson said he is especially impressed by original songs and a strong stage presence.

"Some of the bands that are the best bands that we listen to are known for their stage presence," Anderson said. "The Sex Pistols for example - horrible musicians, wonderful stage presence, great, incredible act."

Veteran battle judge and upright bassist Tim Cunningham said the competition gives young musicians exposure to a number of styles of playing.

"It's just the intensity. It's great to see the young kids come out and listen to all kinds of different bands, as far as those guys have a lot of different influences," Cunningham said. The battle is sponsored by the city's Teen Programs in the Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department, and the concert atmosphere is unlike anything they could find elsewhere in town, he said.

"I think it's a good, safe atmosphere for kids to be able to play through a decent sound system and not have to worry about having to be at a party to do it," Cunningham said.

The winning band will receive a trophy designed by the industrial arts class at Steamboat Springs High School, a radio spot on KFMU, a weeknight gig at Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill and a feature article on this page in the coming weeks.


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