MTSU vs Belmont: Battle of the Bands


Ryan Kenney performs at MTSU's Tucker Theatre in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. The performance was a part of the first MTSU vs. Belmont Battle of the Bands. (MTSU Sidelines / Cat Murphy)
Ryan Kenney performs at MTSU's Tucker Theatre in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. The performance was a part of the first MTSU vs. Belmont Battle of the Bands. (MTSU Sidelines / Cat Murphy)

The first annual MTSU vs. Belmont University Battle of the Bands was held Wednesday night at Tucker Theatre.

The event, which was sponsored by Music With A Purpose and Raider Entertainment, put two bands from each school against each other to see which act would win a $500 prize, as well as bragging rights for their native school.

The event featured solid sets from MTSU acts Copper Into Steel and Ryan Kenney, as well as Belmont acts The Aquaducks and Josh Mirenda.

The Aquaducks

The Aquaducks perform at MTSU's Tucker Theatre in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. The performance was a part of the first MTSU vs. Belmont Battle of the Bands. (MTSU Sidelines / Cat Murphy)
The Aquaducks perform at MTSU’s Tucker Theatre in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. The performance was a part of the first MTSU vs. Belmont Battle of the Bands. (MTSU Sidelines / Cat Murphy)

The first band to take the stage was Belmont’s Aquaducks. The seven-piece group delivered an energetic funk rock set that was my personal favorite of the night. The group sounded great—especially the rhythm guitar and bass players that were the backbone of the band’s upbeat, funky sound.

Copper Into Steel perform at MTSU's Tucker Theatre in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. The performance was a part of the first MTSU vs. Belmont Battle of the Bands. (MTSU Sidelines / Cat Murphy)
Copper Into Steel perform at MTSU’s Tucker Theatre in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. The performance was a part of the first MTSU vs. Belmont Battle of the Bands. (MTSU Sidelines / Cat Murphy)

Ryan Kenney

Next up was MTSU’s own Ryan Kenney. Backed by a full band, the singer songwriter won over the crowd with his country-pop sound. The set’s highlight was the closer, “Virginia,” a song about moving on from tumultuous relationship.

Copper Into Steel

The third artist on the bill was another MTSU act, Copper Into Steel. The folk group delivered a riveting bluegrass set that grabbed the attention of attendees from both universities. They definitely won some new fans with the energetic set.

Josh Mirenda

The final set of the night was by country artist Josh Mirenda. The Belmont students soaked up his contemporary country sound and showed that he was their favorite of the night, even migrating to the edge of the stage for the end of his set. In particular, his cover of Billy Currington’s “Hey Girl” thrilled students from both schools.

After all the performances were done, the audience was instructed to text in their vote. After the votes were tallied, the winner was Ryan Kenney, while Copper Into Steel were the runners-up, with Josh Mirenda and The Aquaducks taking third and fourth respectively.

“This was such a blessing. To be honest, the other bands are so talented. If you’re going off of pure skill level, I don’t deserve this. They’re all killer musicians and I’m just a guy,” Kenney told Sidelines. “I’m trying to pay for [my] wedding, so this is just the biggest, most amazing thing.”

With the first annual Battle of the Bands in the books, it’s fair to say that the musical rivalry between MTSU and Belmont is just beginning. It’s going to be quite interesting to see what will be in store at Battle of the Bands in the years to come.

Follow John Connor Coulston on Twitter at @JCCoulston.

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