Apollo Bravos will open for T-Pain at Devilpalooza 2018

The freshman duo recently won the Battle of the Bands competition at ASU

Apollo Bravos, a band formed by two ASU freshmen, will open up for T-Pain at Devilpalooza on Feb. 24 after winning the 2018 ASU Battle of the Bands. 

The band is comprised of Max Fees, a freshman who will be a civic and economic thought and leadership student, and Cole Kinerk, a freshman business law student.

Fees and Kinerk met when they were in middle school, though the two began collaborating in high school, when they recorded their first EP "Sunsets" on Fees’ iPad. 

After graduating from high school, each of their bands dissolved and Fees and Kinerk looked to each other for a musical future since they were both going to be attending ASU.

Inspired by the palo verde, the state tree of Arizona, the duo came up with the name Apollo Bravos. Being a one-of-a-kind name, they said they felt it would allow them to express their unique style. 

They said the band name has no other connotations besides standing for them and their music and is representative of the fact that they don't want to be confined to a specific genre.

Kinerk said Apollo Bravos captures the essence of what they are: “a two person band with no genre that makes rock and roll.”

As they began developing their new band, they focused on writing music that establishes an emotional connection with the audience. 

“We are really connected to both our music and our audience,” Kinerk said. “We are always going to be making songs that we can express that connection on a big stage.”

Apollo Bravos emerged as the victor of the 2018 Battle of the Bands after several rounds of competition, during which the acts were judged on sound, group dynamic, originality and audience engagement. 

“We want to make sure the music is balanced, the players relate well to each other, the sound is good and the audience is enthusiastic about the music,” said Garrett Bentley, a senior triple majoring in supply chain management, computer information systems and marketing, who was the Programing and Activities Board's student coordinator for the Battle of the Bands.

Bentley said that using Battle of the Bands to determine the opener for the Devilpalooza artist has been a successful way to promote student engagement and shape the dynamic of Devilpalooza over recent years. 

“It gives these students the opportunity to demonstrate their love for music, their passion for entertaining and do that while opening up for a major headliner,” Bentley said. 

Miles Tucker, freshman journalism student and one of the Battle of the Bands judges, said the winner needed to be a group that could hype the audience up before T-Pain's performance.

Read More: T-Pain to perform at Devilpalooza 2018

“Someone has to open for T-Pain and it has to be someone that can match his energy,” he said. 

Tucker said Apollo Bravos had a spectacular performance at the final Battle of the Bands competition that highlighted their energy and unique personal expression.

“I was very impressed with what Apollo Bravos had to bring to the table,” Tucker said. 

With influences spanning from Bruce Springsteen to Odesza to Tame Impala, the big sound of Apollo Bravos would be hard to box into a specific genre. 

Their musical versatility was showcased in their performances at Battle of the Bands, when they added drummer and sophomore informatics major Ryan Kemmer in their final performance. Kemmer will also perform with them on the Devilpalooza stage. 

The duo said it is surreal to be opening up for T-Pain.

“We have some songs that are really near and dear to our hearts that we can’t wait to share on the big stage,” Fees said. 

Thankful for their roots and excited for the future, Apollo Bravos said they are ready to put on a great show for their fellow Sun Devils and hope that the performance will be a stepping stone into launching the rest of their career. 

“We want to deliver a performance that people enjoy and connect with,” Kinerk said. 

Reach the reporter at goldham@asu.edu and follow @graceoldham123 on Twitter. 

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