The band Straight Outta Junior High (SOJH) from Lincoln, Nebraska won the EDGEdOUT Battle of the Bands Saturday Night at the Elk's Lodge in Storm Lake in front of a crowd of about 400.
SOJH won $500, the spot as headliner for the EDGEfest concert event in Sunset Park next spring, and a claim on supremacy in Northwest Iowa alternative rock 'n' roll.
EDGEdOUT was sponsored by KBVU-FM, the Buena Vista University student radio station.
Jamie Haugen, KBVU's program director, thought Saturday night's first-annual EDGEdOUT at the Elks Lodge was a complete success. "It was our first event," said Jamie, "so we learned a lot throughout the whole time we were organizing it. It's really good to see the community and campus community come together to share an interest in one thing - music. We had people from 18 to 50-plus at the Elk's, so we catered to people's interest if they liked alternative music... There aren't many stations in this area that take on events like this, but we're a group that has the ambition and vision of making it happen."
The competition was fierce in the field of eight local and regional bands.
"This was a tough call," said Rob Lembke, KBVU music director and chief EDGEdOUT band judge.
"When we averaged out our points that we rated SOJH and Freaklabel as the top two bands. It just came out that SOJH edged out Freaklabel by a couple of points."
Freaklabel had an edge in energy, but SOJH had the crowd into their act.
According to Lembke, "SOJH had EVERYONE into their music, there were metal fans jumping around and head-bobbing to their music and they had the biggest crowd reaction in terms of applause. Freaklabel however, did have the most energy of all the bands."
Bands came from Lincoln and Blair, Nebraska, Ames, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls and the Storm Lake area with hopes of winning an invitation to headline EDGEfest, KBVU's Spring Music & Arts Benefit in Sunset Park. At the check-passing ceremony Saturday night, SOJH said they would be back for EDGEfest in May. KBVU was immediately contacted by representatives of several of the other bands regarding EDGEFest spots as well. The station will put out a call for band demos after the first of the year, as it begins planning EDGEfest '06 in January.
"SOJH was the band that a lot of people had specifically come to see," said KBVU Station Manger Eric Gotschall, who was Saturday night's stage manager. "With some national exposure and a lot of activity in the region, they used their catchy pop-punk style and quirky lyrics to get the crowd jumping and singing along with them. That gained them a lot of points on the judging panel in regards to crowd involvement." Gotschall acknowledged that the heavy metal band Freaklabel had a huge following at the event "thanks to their earthshaking performance at EDGEfest last spring." Said Gotschall, "Freaklabel took their in-your-face metal style and stirred the crowd into a frenzy. Screaming vocals, flashing lights, guitar solos, and 100 mile per hour drum beats made them a fan-favorite again."
Participating in EDGEdOUT were: Parallex, of AMES, Iowa; Freaklabel, of Cedar Rapids-Iowa City; Angry Gods of The Radio, of Des Moines; Hold for Swank, of Cedar Falls-Waterloo; Straight Outta Junior High, of Lincoln, Nebraska; and fROM dUST, of Blair, Nebraska. From the Storm Lake area are Beneath the Horizon, a Buena Vista University band, and Tantrum 2Blind, a local bar-scene favorite.
KBVU-FM 97.5 is a non-profit radio station. Its primary missions are to support alternative rock music throughout the Midwest, to support the entertainment community of Northwest Iowa with arts and music events, and to annually contribute to local benefits. EDGEdOUT raised $1750, which will be used to attract bands to EDGEFest in May '06. All gate receipts from EDGEFest will be contributed directly to area community benefits. Last year $4000 was split between two worthy causes.
EDGEdOUT sponsors are Fitzpatrick Auto Sales, Larson Oil & Distributing Co., Northwest Iowa Paint Ball, Rasmussen Ford-Mercury, Puff's, and the following Buena Vista University organizations: The Admissions Office, The Academic & Cultural Events Series, and Moving In Stereo.