Tipster Friday takes first atNaperville Battle of the Bands

Proving the old adage that the third time really is a charm, Tipster Friday walked off with first place in the Naperville Park District’s 2014 Battle of the Bands last weekend.

The group’s lineup is made up of students at Neuqua Valley High School, who finished third in 2012 and second in 2013 in the Battle of the Bands.

Playing original material influence by “a little bit of everything,” as bass player Roland Dewgard described it, the band had about 75 fans lined up at the stage to hear “Scarecrow,” “As You Fall,” and one song whose title, “Bear Trap,” they made up on the spot.

“We’ve been doing this show for the past three years,” guitarist and vocalist Jackson Davis said.

Other members of the group are drummer Andrew Heitzman, trombonist Nick Crane and Karime Mamaari on tenor saxophone.

The group’s win earns them a gig at the 2014 Naperville Ribfest, at a time yet to be determined.

The win also earns Tipster a spot in the Illinois Park District Association’s Regional Band Battle, which gives them a chance to perform at the Illinois State Fair.

The group will stay together at least through summer vacation, after which Davis is off to Trinity University in Texas and Dewgard enrolls at the University of Illinois.

Uncertain about their future playing together, Davis said that they’ll concentrate on getting ready for Ribfest.

“We’ll definitely do some covers,” he said.

Second place went to Dead Yet Alive from Naperville North High School, who played originals they described as “alternative blues.”

They earned two gigs, one at at Naper Settlement’s Naper Nights June 26 and another at the Park District’s Rolling on the River series June 20.

“I’m absolutely proud of him,” Andrew Hix said of the performance of his son, Johnny, drummer with Dead Yet Alive. “He’s a good kid … they’re all good kids.”

The third place winner was Where it Starts, also from Neuqua Valley, who will join Dead Yet Alive at the Rolling on the River show June 20.

“We play a sort of pop punk type of music,” guitarist and vocalist Ilan Haskel, said of the group’s original material.

The nine bands in the competition provided a wide variety of musical styles and played original material, except for Dead Yet Alive’s cover of the Talking Head’s “Psycho Killer.”

Delta Sons (Waubonsie Valley High School) played funk and blues originals that singer Jake Julian said was influenced by blues legends Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson.

Burn Out (Naperville Central) played a mix of progressive metal/punk, Evil Never Dies (Metea Valley) stuck to thrash metal and Bluefish Movement (Neuqua Valley) played rock derived from a mix of influences.

Ron Siriano’s son Dominic was the drummer for Burnout.

“I am proud of him beyond belief,” he said of his son’s efforts. “I played the drums and my father played the drums.”

Naperville Park District Project Manager Fred Gusel judged the evening a success.

“I think all the kids had a good time,” he said. “And they played well.”

Gusel said he enjoyed watching some of the bands who have entered previous Naperville Park District Battle of the Bands and returned this year.

“You can see how they grow as musicians,” he said.