University of Joaquin Phoenix (U of JP) won first place in the Battle of the Bands contest on Feb. 4. It was their second consecutive win.
“This was probably the most fun I’ve ever had,” said Adam Mullenix, co-founder of U of JP. “I feed off of people’s [energy]. I think that if people are having fun and being ridiculous, it’s another way to bring God glory.”
Mullenix sang lead vocals, opening with Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors.” The high energy performance included songs from “Space Jam,” a visit from Eli the Golden Eagle and left many people dancing. They played their new single “Fire Engine.”
The set starred co-founder Joseph Neville, Galen Jernigan, Sean Campbell and Keith Duell. Jernignan isn’t an official member of the band but was asked to sing with them.
“They’ve allowed me to be apart of this, and I’m their biggest fan,” Jernigan said. “The style of the band is perfect, amazing, genuine and organic. Anything that you think of that makes you happy, that’s who they are. They’ll make you happy.”
Jernigan sang the second half of the set in an animal print onesie.
A Rad Rad World took second place and Duke and the Heartbeats took third place.
Kari Hackbarth, Rad Rad World’s bass player, said she ran on pure adrenaline and started sweating before the performance started.
Sophomore Josh Nanna, lead singer of Duke and the Heartbeats, enjoyed a positive reaction from the fans.
“My favorite moment was when everybody started coming down [from their seats] during the first song, and I didn’t even have to ask them,” Nanna said. “That was fantastic and made my night. They’re as much as part of the music as I am. Thank you guys.”
Other voices from the night included the @BenBlountShow. Ben Blount, Rex Berg and Joshua Kluge opened the set with an intense routine on the drums. Quickly into the set, Blount ran into trouble.
“During the first song, the first time I hit my symbol the stand actually broke,” Blount said. “I couldn’t really hit it. One of the other band’s drummers came and helped me out.”
Blount focused on expressing how he felt through the music, instead of letting the drum problem distract him.
A new band, The Fish Gang, opened the night in their premier performance. Singer B.J. Fisher said it was an honor to play in the Mabee Center.
“I know B.B. King played there,” Fisher said. “It’s dope, it’s crazy and I loved it. I was trying to relate to the fans.
Neville and Mullenix plan on using their first prize money for their mission trips.