The Wakarusa Winter Classic is a traveling battle of the bands, spanning 17 cities in the Midwest and South. Six groups play Dallas' competition tonight at 2826 Arnetic, and votes from the crowd ultimately decide the winner. Winning bands earn a spot on Wakarusa's lineup, which features Avett Brothers, Fitz & the Tantrums, RJD2 and more.
Here is your formal introduction to Friday night's bill. Let's get ready to rumble!
We the Sea Lions (The Outsider) This quintet calls Fort Worth home, and they've cultivated a dedicated fan base and earned a recurring spot on the stage at The Grotto. 2011's pop-rock debut EP, For Now, produced by Stuart Sikes, paves the way for their debut LP.
Goodnight Ned (The Sleeper) Founded by a guy in Denton with a couch and a guy who slept on that couch, Goodnight Ned has since added a violin, bass and drums, progressing from folk to gritty blues and rock and roll.
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KAPOW (The Newbie) It's only been five months, but this next cast of reggae kings has been turning heads. Lead man Grant Braudrick's slide guitar is backed by melodica, trumpet, and some dubbed-out bass, firmly establishing a roots-reggae feel.
Fatty Lumpkin (The Returning Champ) These three guys combine soul, funk, jazz, Latin, hip-hop and bluegrass. Wakarusa at its core is about musicianship, and that's what earned the band a spot on the lineup not once, but twice. Expect a bunch of new tunes.
Gravity Feed (The Secret Weapon) As a featured performer at Lights All Night 2010, this band sports a secret weapon in its saxophone player, who's shared the stage with legends like Prince and Elton John.
Ishi (The Favorite) This band's electro-dance tunes embrace the freedom of the moment, which won them Best Electronic/Dance Act at the Dallas Observer Music Awards in 2010 and 2011, as well as the honor of Best New Act in 2010.