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ISSUE 119 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 4/28/2006

Lonely heroes

By Ben Mlodzik
Contributing Writer


Friday, April 28, 2006

Emo-punk trio Duct Tape Heroes did their best to rock a slow Thursday night crowd that barely reached double digits at the Lion’s Pause. Despite the low turnout, the band played an impressive, high-energy set of original material, including songs from their first album Trainwreck and their upcoming album The Start of Forever.

All three members were good sports about the small audience.

"We like playing shows anywhere we can," said bassist Mike Shiek. "Even if it's for ten people, we're spreading our sound to ten [new] people."

This small-town work ethic was evident throughout the show, as the Heroes blazed through over an hour of songs with no sign of slowing down. Drummer Travis Bassett's opening attack launched the band's flight into songs about heartbreak, bad relationships and new love.

The standard punk and emo subject matter was revitalized by the group's tight, professional sound and sense of showmanship. Shiek's bass often took a central role with punchy solos and pretty, arpeggiated intros, but the strongest element of the music was lead singer and guitarist Dustin Oldenburg's expressive vocals, reminiscent of recent music by punk band AFI.

The band, from LaCrosse, Wisc., formed two years ago after its members met as freshmen at Viterbo University, which they still attend. However, all three admitted that when books and instruments come into conflict, the band usually takes precedence.

Oldenburg, a music major, said, "At first [the band] didn't fly with my professors, but they've really gotten supportive of it. I'm really surprised."

Their first album, Trainwreck, was made up mostly of songs written by Oldenburg before the band formed, but as the band has grown into a close-knit group, Shiek and Bassett have taken active roles in the songwriting process as well.

Along with maturing their sound and expanding their fan base, the three have become more ambitious in their plans for the future. Playing and promoting their music has taken a central role in the lives of the band members.

“There is not one day when we're not doing something for the band," said Shiek, who explained that they devote much time to practicing, inviting people to shows and plugging their MySpace page.

Currently, their plans include shopping a new demo to record labels and concert venues, planning a month-long tour of the Midwest in the fall, and competing in a battle of the bands for a chance to play the local stage in the Vans Warped Tour.

Check out their music as well as photos of the band and concert dates at their website, www.myspace.com/ducttapeheroes.





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