Student Voice


December 4, 2023




Local bands impress reviewer

April 6, 2007

There are only a few times a year when our campus gets some really great sounding bands to come perform for our community. It is even more of a rarity to get bands to come for a charity event. Last Thursday four bands, Spirit of ‘76, Gloria, The Better Life and Small Towns Burn a Little Slower put on a show in support of Sigma Sigma Sigma’s cancer benefit ‘Rockin’ for Robbie.’ I got to sit down with Spirit of ‘76 and Small Towns to talk about their new projects and the rising indie scene coming out of the Midwest.

Both bands hail from the Twin Cities area and try to do as many ‘benefit’ concerts as they can to give back to the community. Spirit of ‘76 just played at a suicide prevention show and Small Towns will be doing another cancer benefit in May. Danny Wolf, lead singer and lyricist said the band has “too many bills to do as many charity shows as we want, but we probably do more benefits than paid shows.”

And it’s not just these two bands that are nice and great performers. Tommy Rehbein, one of Small Town’s guitar players said he really notices how close-knit the bands in the Midwest indie scene are together.

“We hear a lot about how none of the bands on the east coast like each other,” Rehbein said. “Here, it’s like if one band really starts to make it, they help their friends out in other bands too.”

Spirit of ‘76 also feels that support from other bands and their fans.

“Whenever you feel like you’ve played the worst show ever, everyone always comes up two you and says how great you did,” guitar player Ryan Tenjack said.

But don’t take these musicians for a bunch of softies or ‘the nice guys that finish last.’ They can really rock your fucking socks off. The crowd really wasn’t that big, but the small mosh pit had the energy of any show you might see at a big venue.

Douglas Lanz, the lead singer for Spirit of ‘76 moved like Jim Morrison and wails like Robert Plant. He could jump all over the amps and swing the mic around like he has been practicing it for years. When I asked him how he maintains such high energy, he said, “I wish I did cardio. But it really depends on the crowd; I feed off of that.”

Small Towns Burn a Little Slower was not as theatrical with their performance but they brought a sense of passion and intensity that surprised me. When they began playing songs from their new project they will be releasing later this year, people started jumping on and off the stage and slam dancing so hard that even Rehbein had to take the time between songs to just remind everyone to be careful. So I can’t wait to hear more from that compact disc when it is released.

This concert definitely made my list of top performances here on campus this year, so it’s too bad that so many of you missed it.

If we’re lucky, they’ll be back again soon — before they really blow up.

Jenna Lee is a student at UW-River Falls.