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Eleven:59 brings a new sound to 26th annual Battle of the Bands

Thursday, Feb. 23 hundreds of ORU students flocked to the Global Learning Center to be entertained by one of ORU’s longest traditions: Battle of the Bands. This was the 26th year Battle of the Bands was held on campus, but the first year to be in the new GLC.

Six bands spent weeks auditioning and practicing to gain the audience’s vote after a short set. The bands consisted of Kompany, an all Korean pop/jazz band, The Elsing Museum, a hard rock band, LYLA, a pop/alternative band, Street Called Straight, an all-American country band, Eleven:59, a modern R&B band, and Miss Lucille, a tribute band.

After almost four hours of waiting, music and much delays, the audience voted Eleven:59 the winners of Battle of the Band.

Weston Smith and Timmy Arisa, the band’s keys and lead singer, started the band last July after listening to songs and talking about what songs would sound good together.

“Then we recruited the best musicians we knew,” said Arisa.

The band then spent hours trying to come up with a name that all seven members could agree on.

“We were calling out names and numbers and looking through our playlists for hours,” said Smith.

An argument broke out between some of the members as they could not agree on a name. Then drummer David Ropo started flashing his phone with the time on it in Smith’s face, which got the ball rolling on the name. Arisa suggested using “11” because they used to practice on the 11th floor of Michael.

“So we were like, alright let’s do 11 to signify that, then at first I said ‘30’ but was like nah, then I said ’59,’” said Ropo. “Because it’s the difference between today and tomorrow. It’s the future and the past. That’s why 11:59 p.m. matters.”

Some of the members took to the name right away, while others needed the night to think about it. However, they all woke up the next morning knowing Eleven:59 would be their band name.

The band’s set was inspired by the sound and music of Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, Kanye West, JayZ and Josh Kluge.

“Have you seen the Justin Timberlake concert on Netflix,” Nick Jackson asked? “That was our inspiration. We had to do that.”

George Gutierrez, lead guitarist, said he even watched the concert before Battle of the Bands to get pumped up.

“We tried to do something different,” said Ropo. “When you look at last year, and I don’t know about the year before, we were trying to do something different. Even if you look at the bands from this year, we were way different.”

The band picked their songs to fit Arisa’s voice because they did not want to stretch his where it could not go. Arisa’s voice still felt stretched though.

“That’s why we were like ‘Hey Timmy we should probably get someone else to do Halo,’” said Ropo.

The band calls that decision their “best call ever.” They pulled on the talents of Sariah Reese to blow the crowd away with their rendition of Beyonce’s “Halo.”

“Everyone here is involved in worship and has been doing that for years,” said Gutierrez. “When you do that it’s never about you. You never get to really perform. You have to be in that mindset that this is for Jesus. We were talking that this week is our chance just to be like rock stars for a little bit.”

Battle of the Bands gave them the chance to mess around as musicians. They were able to test out different transitions and see what worked outside of the music they play every week during worship.

After Battle of the Bands, Eleven:59 has their hopes set on the future.

“Timmy and I have been talking about doing a project and continuing this,” said Jackson. “After, tonight I know everyone is down.”

They have they are looking forward to Battle of the Bands 2018 where they can recreate a new vibe and sound for their band.