COLUMBIA — This year's winner of Hickman High School's Battle of the Bands, The RPs, has chosen to host a benefit concert at The Blue Note, with proceeds going to the Joplin recovery efforts.
Since May 2004, the school's Academy of Rock has organized a Battle of the Bands that allows Columbia high school rock and roll acts to compete and receive several prizes.
What: The RPs benefit concert featuring Table for Five and Battlement. Battlement will kick off the show, followed by Table For Five, and The RPs will close.
When: Doors open at 7 p.m. July 20
Where: The Blue Note, 17 N. Ninth St.
Admission: $5. All proceeds benefit the Joplin relief efforts.
The winning band receives studio time at Pete Szkolka's PS Studios, guest list status at selected Blue Note or Mojo's shows and the privilege of hosting a benefit concert for a cause of its choice.
Phil Overeem, Hickman teacher and co-founder of The Academy of Rock, helps scout bands, gets the word out about auditions and acts as a middleman between the bands and professional concert venues in Columbia.
“I also dispense advice, but these folks usually don't need it," Overeem said. "I've been lucky to work with top-flight youth, for certain.”
“Also, the idea of having a school Battle of the Bands was at the core of the founding of our club, so another thing I do is try to find a platform for kids' ideas to become reality,” he said.
The RPs lead guitarist Will Cowell said the concert is not only for a good cause, but it's also an opportunity to support young local musicians.
Cowell described The RPs' music as ethereal, spacy and an alternative sound he said many have likened to U2's. He enjoys British bands such as Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead, and other band members cite the The Shins and Queens of The Stone Age as musical influences.
The RPs play exuberant, melodic, alternative rock and roll that has an interesting R.E.M. influence, Overeem said.
“Several of the guys have exploited their formal choir training into neat rock harmonies,” he said.
The RPs will be joined by Table for Five, who placed second in Battle of the Bands. The show will also feature Battlement, *another Hickman band.
Overeem said Table for Five is, hands down, the best young jazz band in Columbia.
“They layer their jazz with funk and rock and will get the crowd moving," he said.
Members of Battlement describe themselves as a classic punk band fused with '80s vintage pop that sounds like Mötley Crüe meets Lynyrd Skynyrd. Band member Isaac Denney also cited Liza Minnelli as an influence.
"They play what I like to call 'plainclothes metal,'" Overeem said. “They are vets to the local metal scene and have really established themselves, but they will not be clad in leather or codpieces.”