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The Lonely Biscuits ready to rock Battle of the Belmont Bands

The Lonely Biscuits are in the van, driving towards Davenport, Iowa — the next stop on their ongoing U.S. tour — when they take my call.

They’ve apparently never played in Iowa before.

The previous night, the trio played a show in drummer Sam Gidley’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.

“Our favorite stops are always probably our hometowns,” said bassist Nick Byrd. “They always have a good amount of people come out and support us, and it’s always just fun to be home and see your friends.”

As the upcoming headliners for Battle of the Belmont Bands 2017, the Biscuits are also looking forward to returning to where it all began.

“Belmont has always been kind of our support system since day one, you know, that community,” said Gidley. “We’re just excited to get back and play for all the new students and maybe see some of our old professors and walk around the campus, because we’ve heard it’s changed so much.”

As freshmen in 2011, the trio lived on the same floor in Maddox Hall. Gidley and guitarist Grady Wenrich began jamming together as roommates. Byrd — after stepping in on bass for a few early gigs — joined the band shortly after winter break.

The band quickly built momentum playing small shows around town and at other local colleges on weekends.

“We’ve just kind of been doing it ever since,” said Gidley.

And that they have. Since graduating in 2015, The Lonely Biscuits have gotten some serious mileage under their belts, touring all over the U.S. with bands like fellow Belmont alumni Judah & the Lion and the Jackson, Mississippi-based band, The Weeks.

“It’s super rewarding. We’re just in a phase in our lives where we don’t get too tired or worn out on travelling, and every time we go to a new city or a city we love it’s super fun. We get to see old friends or we get to explore, take pictures, buy a record or something,” Wenrich said.

“It’s always just the best, playing a show where you don’t know people, and having however many kids show up — whether it’s 10 or a couple hundred — and have them know the words to your songs and tell you that you inspire them.”

Despite their extensive touring, the Biscuits still remember some of the band’s earliest days.

Wenrich remembers early band practices on campus — something of a logistical nightmare for student bands trying to play within the confines of practice hours.

“We would wait until 11 p.m. on school nights, carry our stuff to the atrium where you buy tickets for basketball games,” Wenrich said. “There would be one door open always, so we’d just sneak our stuff in there, plug our stuff in, and that’s how we’d have band practice.”

Gidley also remembers recording one of the band’s first songs at RCA Studio B.

“We were working for our friend’s lawn mowing company at the time, and I think Grady called me and said, ‘Hey, we can get into RCA and record today, but we gotta head there right now,’ and we were like ‘Oh my gosh, yes, this is going to be awesome!’ So I had to get on my friend’s moped with someone else that was playing guitar for us at the time, and we drove across town on this moped straight to the studio and recorded one of our first songs.”

However, one thing the Biscuits never got to do was compete in Battle of the Belmont Bands. Which, to the band, makes their headlining slot this year all the more exciting.

“I’m excited to meet a bunch of the new kids that are going there. Belmont’s a really cool place and really exciting in the beginning, because that was the only stage in my life where I moved somewhere and was surrounded by people who were all going for the same things as us,” Wenrich said. “I think it’s important for all of them to know, you know we’re not big or anything, but we were in the same exact boat as them a couple years ago and we’re exactly like all of them.”

After touring extensively, the band also feels confident they’ll be able to put on a good show.

“We’re really in a cool stride right now playing in a three piece. We’ve really come into our own with our performance recently,” Gidley said. “Expect a lot of rolling on the ground and kicking and exciting maneuvers. And probably expect an epic cover.”

After the Battle of the Bands show Saturday night, the Biscuits have some exciting new things in their schedule. On September 9, they’ll open for Judah & the Lion at Ryman Auditorium. On September 22, they’ll be performing a free in-store show at Grimey’s to celebrate the release of their upcoming “The San Francisco EP.” And in the spring The Lonely Biscuits are expecting to release their first full-length studio album, with a supporting tour coming soon after.

But definitely do not miss them Saturday at the Battle of the Belmont Bands. Music starts at 5 p.m.

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