Three bands fight in battle’s first round

Dylan Boyle

The first of three wildcard rounds of Veishea’s Battle of the Bands got off to a slow start at the Maintenance Shop Tuesday evening with low student attendance and two no-shows. It left three bands to gather the pieces and put on a night of enjoyable music.

The three days of wildcard rounds consist of 15 bands playing 30-minute sets for shots at the five wildcard spots in Friday’s final round. Ten preselected bands will also compete Friday for bragging rights to the people’s choice and top-three awards.

Assault Company

Cascade native band Assault Company, a three-man group consisting of Kasey Pfab and Mark Weiland on guitar and Chris Thode on bass, kicked off the night shredding through mostly instrumental thrash tunes.

Although the band is drummerless, it made great use of a Boss drum machine that, surprisingly, created a solid and elaborate backbeat for the group.

Characterized by Weiland and Pfab’s use of duel drop-tuned guitars, Assault Company definitely delivers the bash-your-head-against-the-wall sound that metalheads love, but ended up sounding bare because of the overall lack of accompanying vocals and lead guitar parts to complement the heavy riffs.

Assault Company did show off a lot of talent, but some instrumentals dragged on and turned into Pfab playing the intro riff to Slayer’s “Raining Blood” over Weiland and Thode’s feedback.

Assault Company put on a show, but suffered without a distinct vocalist and live drummer.

Funks G

Des Moines punk trio Funks G showcased several original songs off its recently released album “The Phoenix” for the small crowd, chugging through Green Day-style power-chord punk rock. The band, which has toured extensively through the Midwest – and will soon launch its first national tour – showed great energy throughout its set featuring complex drumming often not found in typical three-chord punk.

Funks G, although solid, came off as very stereotypical pop-punk of the post-Blink 182 generation, singing all the songs that perfectly describe your broken heart after a middle school breakup.

Lead vocalist Will Schmitt, bassist Trent Briney and drummer Zach Allison definitely have a bright future in the music biz, but might not be able to break past the younger audience.

The Lone Strangers

After a long intermission caused by two no-show bands, Ames band The Lone Strangers ended the night in three-part harmony, performing with the most energy.

The Lone Strangers, considered Battle of the Bands veterans, finished in third place last year and are hoping for better in their fourth appearance.

Lead guitarist Pat Blair’s use of drowning reverb over vocalist and guitarist Matt Heerema’s rhythm playing mixed cleanly with Scott Chidester’s drumming and Dan Shea’s bass to create a mellow alternative rock sound.

Although The Lone Strangers have potential, the band’s playing seems to be more of a hobby than a career, which might restrict the band to the Ames area.

In the end, the band produces a great sound and is definitely a must-listen for fans of anything from U2 to indie rock.

And hats off to Shea as the night’s only bass player to not use a pick and to Blair for ripping the first real solo of the night.