After weeks of our 9th annual battle’s preliminary rounds in early 2020, twelve of sixteen bands had been eliminated. That March, the semi-finals had just determined which four would go head-to-head, live, for the prize of $1,000 and gracing the cover of BandWagon Magazine. We all know what happened next. Yet somehow, all four bands carried on. They made their own recordings, found new players, harnessed the power of positive thinking and the internet. Some even grew big-ass beards – after all, it’s been a whole year! And so, the long-awaited conclusion to the 2020 BandWagon Battle of the Bands finally goes down Friday, March 12, 2021 at The Union Colony Civic Center in Greeley.
• • •
Hannah Rodriguez knew that The Cuddies were entering a new chapter in January of 2020 when they won the first round of BandWagons’ Battle of the Bands. She eagerly planned their finalist set and looked forward to the future. But the future had changes in store.
Bandmates graduated from The University of Northern Colorado and moved away, though some members of the band would carry on after garnering some local popularity. They opened for The Burrough’s annual New Year’s Eve party (a sell-out at Greeley’s Moxi theater to a crowd of over 400) and planned to record an album in the summer of 2020. But March hit, and COVID-19 left their calendar suddenly empty.
But that wasn’t the end of things as friends. The Cuddies found ways to play together in smaller groups and occasionally hang out at an apartment where a few of them were roommates. With the popularity of live stream events, they enjoyed a few more moments together with Greeley’s MayPlay, The Burroughs Variety Show Telethon, and the Moxi Live! summer concert series. Now, with the Battle of the Bands resuming and a rescheduled studio date, they have a purpose to hang around a little bit longer.
“We just want to entertain people and have fun doing it,” said Rodriguez
Hannah and the Cuddies still have to adjust for those original line-up’s missing bandmates by bringing in substitutes, but one original member will be driving from his new home in Casper, WY, specifically to do battle.
“I’m nervous about going in with a different group of people. Part of why we were fun is because we were all friends, so we connected on stage,” said Rodriguez.
But Rodriguez also looks forward to her future as an artist in the individual sense. She found more time to write during quarantine, allowing a more organic songwriting style to emerge while she finishes her last semester at the University of Northern Colorado. So whether or not the Cuddies have a strong future, her solo work functions as an extension of the band.
With the optimism of a vaccine and Hannah & the Cuddies booked for their first live gig with a real audience in 2021, Rodriguez is ready to play music once again.