Students wave at the beginning of a song by the band ‘We are Ansel.’
Photo by Allison Thompson


Good San Juan outplayed the competition at the Battle of the Bands Thursday evening, beating five other bands to win the chance to open at a Communiversity concert in the spring.

No two bands were the same as each group introduced their own original songs and attention-grabbing tactics.The final band, We Are Ansel, created a mosh pit in the front of the stage, wore trash bags and provided a variety of props for the crowd to destroy throughout their performance.

The judges were Jen Fleckenstein, associate director of Residence Life, Greg Dolmage, residence director of University Village South, and Jackson Stava, assistant athletics director.

“We are looking for student reaction,” said Fleckenstein.

Students texted in their votes as the battles went on and were entered into a raffle to win headphones or a Barnabas hat.

Jacqueline Blanca and Hannah Kenny, Communiversity’s two performing arts interns, organized the annual event and chose the six student bands.

The bands applied and were chosen based on the demos they submitted,” Blanca said. “This year we had a lot of really good bands and it was really hard to narrow it down.”

The first two acts, Ben & Alex and Put Down The Yardstick, kept things a bit mellow and laid back and gained a positive response from the crowd.

Ben & Alex opened the show with two ballads. During the songs, Alex asked the crowd, “If you have lighters, take them out.”

Cheers arose from the crowd for the duo as the judges responded.

“I just really appreciate the folky genre,” said Fleckenstein.

However, Dolmage evaluated the men on a different scale.

“I usually grade my bands on a beard scale. So [they’re] only at a two,” said Dolmage.

Put Down the Yardstick, began with an electronic style and got the crowd dancing and moving. The audience enjoyed a mix of guitar solos, rapping, and a falsetto tone from the lead singer.

“You just laid down 36 inches of fun,” said Dolmage.

Good San Juan, the eventual winners, then entered the stage and immediately roped up some crowd participation. Asking the girls to sing one part of the chorus, the band received abundant cheering and clapping.

“I was bouncing around in my seat,” said Fleckenstein.

A slower set was then introduced by Reese Hopper and his band. His first request was for the audience to come closer to the stage to keep him warm.

Arms were swaying as Hopper sang “Hope is on the Horizon,” which Dolmage said took him back to his high school days.

After the first four bands, Good San Juan led the polls with 38 votes.

“Twitter and His Followers” played next and encouraged the crowd to dance with its pop sound.

According to the lead singer, their second song was their favorite and was about “loving yourself even more than God loves you.”

The final band, “We are Ansel,” had a style all their own. Donning white masks, trash bags, hats and a cow costume, the men said they “worship a little differently.”

After an introductory flute, the band began screaming, jumping, punching their heads through picture frames and even smashing a pumpkin.

The front portion of the audience was warned beforehand to not punch or kick, but only push and roll. A mosh pit ensued.

While some crowd members enjoyed the original performance of “We are Ansel,” not all students related to their music.

“I left my earplugs at home. So I’ll have to go back and get them,” said sophomore business major Cameron Smith.

The audience seemed to enjoy the experience, even if they did not connect with each band.

“If I am being honest, they are not my favorite genres,” sophomore history major Christopher Moran said. “But it is still fun to watch live music.”