People crowd downtown to hear variety of bands

Sunday, September 30, 2001

[ Click here for a photo gallery of the event ]

By Andrea L. Buchanan ~ Southeast Missourian

The air in downtown Cape Girardeau was filled with smoky barbecue and different flavors of music Saturday, with Eddie Money dominating the main stage on the Riverfront and more local musicians scattered throughout the surrounding area.

A former New York City police officer, Money said his heart was broken by the events of Sept. 11. One flag was held high in the center of the audience and another waved on the stage as he played to a crowd of all ages.

His set included hits like "Take Me Home Tonight" and "She Takes My Breath Away," as well as songs from his later albums, "Love and Money" and "Ready Eddie."

As concert-goers crowded into the riverfront area, bands like Luke and Matt, playing Christian-themed rock and bluegrass, drew their own audiences to the Themis Street stage. The band's two acoustic guitars, backed by a set of bongos, were a contrast to the ear-popping rock 'n' roll from the main barge.

Saturday afternoon, the music festival also offered a venue for less-experienced local talent to display their own musical wares.

Playing a mixture of cover tunes and their own songs, Southeast Missouri musicians rocked the stage at the River City Yacht Club in the City of Roses Battle of the Bands.

At times the screaming guitars and roaring vocals were too much for the speakers and judges were reminded that the bands weren't playing with their own equipment.

The bands each played a 30-minute set and were judged on musical skill, stage presence and audience reaction. Audience reaction was measured with a decibel meter.

Closure, made up of singer Matt Palmer, bassist Damon Pearson, guitarists Chad Parker and Derek Pearson and drummer Scott "Tank" Blakey, emerged victorious from the battle and took home the $500 prize.

They edged out their closest rival, the Advance-based band Nemesis, and nine other area groups.

That Closure had already developed a solid fan base at Southeast Missouri State University was evident when the crowd sang along with the group's original tune "Dreams."

The group turned the Britney Spears' song "Hit Me Baby One More Time" on its ear, kind of like Ozzy Osbourne does Madonna.

Even dedicated metalheads, groaning at the first chords of the baby pop diva's song, had to smile at the wicked twist.

"We like to put some kink in things," Palmer said.

Fans were appreciative, thrashing on the small dance floor below the stage.

abuchanan@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 160

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