Battle of the Bands Rocks SUU

The highly anticipated Battle of the Bands: Thunderground brought together nine musical performances, none of which failed to entertain Oct. 29 for Thunder 91.1’s second annual event.

The performance included six soloists: winner Lillian VanDaam, Ellee Buchanan, Sydni Eileen, Natalie Franson, Kyle Lambdin and Socr8s and three bands: Daybreak, Harding Avenue and Lizard Rex.

“I couldn’t be happier with how things went,” Ryan Steineckert, communications professor and Thunder 91.1 station manager, explained. “The performers were amazing … I’m in awe of the musical talent we have here.”

Each of the performances brought something remarkable to the stage but the three winners brought something particularly special.

Lillian Vandaam may have performed last, but she wowed the crowd and placed first. Through gorgeous vocals, her guitar and quippy flair, she charmed the audience and the judges with two original works including “Scarecrow” and her Spotify original “Is It Odd.” She is already a featured local artist on Thunder 91.1 and, based on audience response, there is hope she will be featured more.

Lizard Rex followed in second place. The band consists of Jared Bolton on the drums, Anson Call as lead singer, Derek Schmidt on the electric guitar and Benjamin Palmer on bass. Their stage presence began the show with a bang—each of the band members dressed head to toe in classic rocker style. Their cover of “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” and their original  “Runaway” were full of life and skillfully executed despite having only been together a week.

Natalie Franson, also known as Fenix, took third. She started off with a cover of “Georgia” and then performed her own piece, “Separated.” She was warm and friendly and brought a soft personality to the stage that the audience was able to relate to.

It was considered a difficult decision to pick winners by the judges though they were finally determined.

“All the bands and artists performed exceptionally well,” Sarah Hutchings, one of the judges, said. “It was definitely difficult to judge.”

Overall, the event was considered a great success—full of talented musicians and an enthusiastic audience response.

“The Ballroom was rockin’,” Steneckert stated. “If you didn’t go, you missed out.”


Article and Photography by Audrey Gee