Neighborhood Watch competes in Bandwagon’s annual battle of the bands

Competing for a $5,000 prize and feature on the Bandwagon Magazine, four bands from across the state competed on Dec. 10 at the Moxi Theater


Lisa Hebert

Of course, at the end of the show it was time to BeReal.

Each year, Bandwagon Magazine, a publication that centers on local music and culture, hosts a battle of the bands in which groups from across the state compete. This year, the four finalists included Ovira, Black & White Motion Picture, Thrash Hard City, and Neighborhood Watch.

Each of the finalists came from a different city in Colorado including Greeley, Denver, Longmont, and Fort Collins. The Fort Collins group, Neighborhood Watch, consists of five members, two of which are Mead alumni. Caleb Hebert (guitar) and Toby Yoder (drums) graduated from Mead High School in spring of 2020, and they enrolled at Colorado State University that fall.

However it wasn’t until early 2022 that the band formed, and since then, among various shows, they’ve released two singles on Spotify (Stuck on You and Trying) and won the CSU battle of the bands. They have an indie rock, upbeat sound and plan to release an EP and a full length album in the next year.

According to Yoder, “For live performances, we’re just trying to keep up energy, make sure the audience has fun, keep them engaged… I think our music reflects that, it’s fun, upbeat. Something you want to listen to in the summer.”

Following the victory of the university competition, Neighborhood Watch, along with 100 other Colorado bands, applied to compete in the statewide battle of the bands. Of the applicants, 16 were selected to compete in the preliminary round, four bands per city.

In the Fort Collins round, held at The Coast on Nov. 24, Clementine, The Timberline, 2MX2, and Neighborhood Watch competed for a spot in the final round. After an electric performance and a unanimous decision from the judges, Neighborhood Watch advanced to the final in Greeley.

On Dec. 10, the group performed at the Moxi Theater in the final round of the battle of the bands. Despite a great performance, Neighborhood Watch did not win the competition, and Ovira walked away with the victory. Winning both the audience and judge vote, Ovira’s pure metal sound and dedicated fan base helped secure them $5,000 and the cover of the month’s edition of Bandwagon Magazine.

“We didn’t win, but we’ve only been a band for less than a year. Everyone we were competing with has been together much longer… We kinda had a winning streak, so it was good to remember where we’re at,” Yoder said.