Skyline-based Rosander triumphs at March’s Battle of the BandsMar 30, 2023 02:30PM ● By Heather Lawrence
Members of the winning band Rosander are all students at Skyline High. L to R are Lucas Helm, Andie Christensen, Max Anderson and Mason Brindley. (Courtesy Amber Anderson/Rosander)
Rosander, the four-piece band from Skyline High, won first place in the March 3 West Multi Region Battle of the Bands. As winners, they will perform at the Grand Theatre April 29. But they say they’re even happier that they won Fan Favorite.
“In the competition, there are four or five judges and you progress through each round with two songs. They give you a score and feedback on what you did well and what you can improve. That score determines the winner,” said senior Lucas Helm who plays bass in the band.
Fan favorite, however, is judged by the audience. “There’s an online survey and fans vote on whose music they liked the most and who looked like they were having the most fun. To me it’s even better that we won that, because it means the audience really liked the show,” Helm said.
Helm has been playing with his band mates as Rosander for a little over a year, with senior Mason Brindley on guitar, junior Andie Christensen on vocals and junior Max Anderson on drums. Anderson’s mom Amber, a vocal coach, is also their manager.
The event on March 3 was held at Olympus High and sponsored by the PTA. There were 14 entries from nine Utah high schools, a mix of bands and open mic performers: Nameless, Alex Navarro, The Ceramic Bowl Speaks, Stella Rhodes, Grace Waite, Bread Box, Jameson Thackeray, The Waynes, Anna Van Moorlehem, Flying Beagle, Stephen Sroufe, Turpentine and Johhn LeBaron.
“Students performing in Battle of the Bands are winners from their local schools. There are several [other] competitions in the state. The winners will go on to perform on April 29 at the Salt Lake Community College Grand Theatre,” said Matthew Sampson, spokesperson for Granite School District.
This was Rosander’s second year competing. They formed nearly two years ago when Max Anderson and Brindley, who were already friends, started “jamming whenever possible in Max’s basement.”
They shared a common love of grassroots rock and roll. Soon they were joined by Helm on bass, but they needed a solid vocalist. Enter Andie Christensen.
“I saw Andie’s YouTube channel and knew she went to our school. I asked her to join us and my mom worked with her at her vocal studio. Andie’s capable of many genres, and she’s really fun to watch up on stage,” Max Anderson said.
Amber Anderson knew she had good raw material to work with. “I directed her to some soulful vocalists. I knew the voice was there and it had this warmth. But she had to know it was OK to stand out in a crowd and not be afraid of it,” Amber Anderson said.
The three other band members remember the day when they were rehearsing their cover of “Fever Dog,” and they felt like Christensen tapped into what her voice was capable of.
“The first time she opened up the three of us looked at each other with our jaws on the floor. Now she does that to us every week. She’s grown exponentially,” Helm said.
Christensen has a gig every Wednesday at the Citris Grill on Wasatch Boulevard and her band mates can’t say enough good things about her.
“I think she’s the reason we sound the way we do, because she’s what makes us different from any other band. When you think about what makes you stand out, that’s what will dictate your future. And she is what makes us stand out,” Brindley said.
All the band members cite their parents and teachers as big supporters. Learning music from their parents is also partly what inspired their classic rock vibe.
“We’ve learned to love what that genre has to offer. We’ve listened to it for years. It’s important to have diverse music taste—it helps us bring in different demographics of people,” Helm said.
Anderson was influenced by the music his parents listened to. His dad, also a drummer, introduced him to drummers like U2’s Larry Mullen Jr. and Led Zeppelin’s Jon Bonham.
Brindley’s influences include Robert Johnson and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page. He also gives credit to and “has a lot of respect for” his Holladay-based guitar teacher, Johnny London.
Rosander hopes the win will give them some local recognition so they can play more live shows this summer. They’d like to pursue music professionally, and Amber Anderson is teaching them about the business side of music so they don’t go into it naively.
“I gave them two rules: first, you still have to get a degree, and second you will learn the music business so you can have fun at it and enjoy the benefits of creative control,” Amber Anderson said. She’s invested in sophisticated recording equipment, and posted videos and tracks on www.rosander.band and YouTube.
At Battle of the Bands they performed one original song, “Passion,” and one cover, “Fever Dog,” which they’ll perform again on April 29. Future shows like the upcoming Draper Jam will give them more set time and flexibility.
In just over a year they’ve seen a lot of success and call Battle of the Bands a very positive experience.
“My favorite thing has been how everyone at Battle of the Bands is nice to each other and everyone wants you to succeed and do your best. During sound checks everyone’s listening to everyone else, and interested in their talents and song choices,” Helm said.
In addition to hard work and talent, Helm attributes Rosander’s win to the group’s chemistry.
“We hang out every single day, and we’re not really performing for other people, we’re just performing for each other. We do what we love onstage, but it happens in front of people,” Helm said. “We’re legitimate best friends, and that comes across to the audience when we perform.”