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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Behind the Battle: Meet the judges

Photo by Photo via Marquette Radio
Five judges from the Milwaukee music scene will make up the panel for Marquette Radio’s Battle of the Bands.

Marquette Radio’s Battle of the Bands will feature a panel of five judges. Here’s a look at the group who will name the winner at Thursday’s event.

Allen Halas, “Breaking and Entering”

Allen Halas began “Breaking and Entering” as a student at Marquette. The idea was conceived as a podcast prouced out of a friend’s dorm, hence the name “Breaking and Entering.” It continued as a Marquette Radio Show for a couple semesters, until Halas and his podcast partner parted ways. Halas graduated in 2013, and in 2014 relaunched “Breaking and Entering” as a daily music website, featuring local Milwaukee musicians and bands covering events like concerts and festivals.

Having been involved in Marquette Radio as a student as well as having returned to judge the event last year, Halas is no stranger to the Battle of the Bands. “I was pretty blown away, actually, by the amount of talent we had at last year’s Battle of the Bands,” Halas said. “It was something that when I was a student at Marquette was interesting, but not to the level of talent that there was last year.”

Halas always appreciates the opportunities both to come back to Marquette and to support local musicians and is glad Marquette Radio is providing a platform for musicians from around town.

Patrick Carroll, “Breaking and Entering”

A “Breaking and Entering” partner of Halas’s, Patrick Carroll has been involved in the Milwaukee music scene for nearly a decade now, going to shows and promoting local bands. Along with Halas, Carroll was also a judge at last year’s Battle of the Bands

“I am all about something original,” Carroll said. “Music’s got to make you feel something … I like something that stands out where you can actually feel what the songwriter – what the band – wanted to convey to the audience.”

Cat Ries, local musician

Since she was 16, Cat Ries has been performing in shows around Milwaukee. She continued performing her music throughout high school and her early 20s, and then began going on tour.

Calling herself the “Paula Abdul of the bunch,” Ries says she will be focusing more on creativity and energy than incredibly technical details when it comes to judging the competition.

As a part-time musician, Ries sings and plays synthesizer in the band NO/NO, which she described as “’80s synth-pop and new wave, a little shoe-gazey too at times.” In addition, she dances and performs in the theatrical group Rio Turbo, and also performs in an “atmospheric-goth R&B” solo project.

Mark Forstner, Extension Cord

For two and a half to three years, Mark Forstner worked at The Rave/Eagles Club doing social media and online advertising. After working a regular marketing job for a bit, Forstner “still kind of had the itch” to work with marketing for music, and got back into booking shows and providing marketing services to musicians and bands. Since Spring 2017, he has been involved with Extension Cord, an organization helping independent bands with marketing, advertising and promoting. “First and foremost, I’m a fan,” Forstner said, adding that he enjoys “reaching out to these bands and trying to get them to build a presence in Milwaukee.”

As for what he looks for in a quality band, Forstner considers himself traditional. “I like guitars, you know, a drummer that has a good stage presence, and just a band that kind of brings it on stage,” Forstner said. “There’s a lot of bands that can make similar sounds, but (not as many) people that deliver and the people that can really sell it on stage.”

Forstner also appreciates a band that has a unique sound as well as a band that takes inspiration from other influences and musicians of the past.

Aram Feriants, Voodoo Honey Records

A session guitar player with Voodoo Honey Records, Aram Feriants plays for the artists involved with the record, specializing in R&B, gospel, hip hop and rock. In addition, Feriants plays at Christian Faith Fellowship Church of God and Christ, a large gospel church in Milwaukee.

“Honestly, I don’t know what to expect. Probably just looking to check out some music, and hopefully they’re good,” Feriants said.

The Battle of the Bands will be hosted at the Union Sports Annex, Thursday, Feb. 22, from 7-11 p.m.

The winner of the Battle of the Bands will perform at the showcase held by “Breaking and Entering” at the Tonic Tavern on April 5, opening for Milwaukee-based indie-alternative musician Abby Jeanne. As judges, Halas and Carroll keep an eye out for a group of musicians that can add excitement and energy to their upcoming showcase.

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