Patchwork Project band competition aims to spark interest in local music

Roxy’s is hosting the event to strengthen an already thriving music scene.

By Andrea Gonzales-Paul | Nov. 1, 2012

Tags: Music Patchwork Project


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If musicians were pieces of cloth, then Dave Kemper, founder of the Columbia Missouri Music Scene Facebook page, would be the one holding the needle, sewing them together.

Tonight, Roxy’s, a party bar on East Broadway, will host Kemper’s brain child, the Patchwork Project, a battle of the bands bringing together musicians who were total strangers before the competition.

It all started two months ago when 70 local musicians applied for a spot to play in the project. Kemper put the names of the best 25 applicants into a hat and randomly sorted them into five separate bands. Each band consists of a guitarist, vocalist, bassist, drummer and auxiliary instrumentalist, all ranging from 19-40 in age. The resulting "patchwork" bands had six weeks to get acquainted, work together and come up with a 30-minute setlist that included a Beatles cover. At the final battle tonight, the winning band will take home $500.

“I thought of it a couple years ago and kind of had it in the back of my head,” Kemper says of the project. “The idea basically just came from our desire to create some enthusiasm for the local music scene.”

Unlike today's music competitions, there will not be a Randy, Paula or Simon to decide the winner. Instead, audience members will be given a ticket to vote for their favorite band.

“There’s only one person in the world that has heard all five bands, and it’s me," Kemper says. "And they are a lot better than I expected them to be."

There’s one band in particular that Kemper says he believes might be the best band in Columbia, but you'll have to see for yourself which one it is.

“I don’t know how they did it in five weeks, but they’ve got very intricate, well-written, well-performed, dynamic songs with a unique style,” he says of the mystery band. “I would expect to be impressed, and if you’re going just to watch a train wreck, go to a different bar because there are going to be five good bands.”

Although Kemper is full of compliments for each band, the journey wasn't always rainbows and sunshine. A few participants dropped out a third of the way through, forcing Kemper to replace them with other applicants who hadn't been initially accepted.

“The funny part is that the people that we replaced them with have been some of the more enthusiastic members and some of the more talented members,” he says. “It is interesting to see how well these people have gotten along and how well these people have worked together.”

As competition day dawns upon us, the bands practice in hopes of taking home the cash at the end of the night.

“I’m excited, but I’m already thinking about the second one,” he says.

To keep people updated on future projects, Kemper says he uses the Columbia Missouri Music Scene Facebook page. He says the page also unites bands and promotes local music. For example, music enthusiasts can find future shows posted on the page and trust that they'll be good performances.

“We appreciate the support Columbia has given us and an event like this can only happen in a town with the amount of talent and the amount of enthusiasm towards local music that we have,” Kemper says. “It definitely makes me proud to be living and working in a town like this.”

Check out our profiles of each of the competing bands: Emigrate Blue Amberol The Wet Dream [Well Hidden Wolf] Chalkboard Dinosaur_

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