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.
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Nick Lundeen remembers February 2020 well. His band, Lady Denim, was coming off a string of successful headlining gigs across the Colorado Front Range, gathering a cult following with a growing catalog of memorable tracks. To top it off, the 80’s inspired indie rock quartet were selected as finalists for BandWagon’s Battle of the Bands.
But just as BandWagon announced finalists, the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head and flipped the world upside down. The Battle, the music industry and life in general, were placed on hold.
“We were starting to get the ball rolling, you know, the snowball effect,” recalls Lundeen, Lady Denim’s lead vocalist, of the band’s momentum heading into March 2020, “and then it all got paused.”
Lundeen looks back on the band’s last headliner at the Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins, where the band walked out to a crowd of 450. At a show a month later on March 13, just as news of COVID-19 began to flare up, the band walked out to a crowd of less than 50.
And after a run of spring shows were cancelled, and seeing major festivals postponed, the reality began to set in.
“The silver lining of it all was that we were able to set aside time and record,” Lundeen reflects.
Known for their dreamy, uptempo, indie vibe, Lundeen said the lockdown gave the group time to continue developing Lady Denim’s sound. Trading rehearsals for recording sessions not only brought the band closer, but also yielded the seeds for what Lundeen said will be their next release.
With lockdown restrictions in the state of Colorado being dialed back, Lundeen said he is excited to return to the stage. In preparation for the rescheduled final round of BandWagon Magazine Battle of the Bands, he said that Lady Denim has been cutting the amount of recording they are doing in order to devote full attention to their live show.
“There’s definitely going to be first show jitters, like we’re back to the very beginning of it because it’s been so long. It feels surreal to come back to it – like how the Olympics got postponed; now we’re having the 2020 Battle of the Bands in 2021. We’re just making sure we are ready to go with these new songs,” Lundeen said.
“Our live performance is where you get to see and feel a lot of the emotion,” Lundeen continued. “I’m very excited to see the turnout; and I think it will be really good for the community of Northern Colorado. Live music has a special charm. It’ll never depreciate in value as far as what it stands for. Something about live music, having it right in front of you – the energy that it’s surrounded with and the people that come, it’s something that can never go away.”