Battle of the Bands winners Neighborhood Watch take FoCo by storm

Get an inside look at the young up-and-coming band Neighborhood Watch.

Logan+Baker%2C+lead+singer+of+the+band+Neighborhood+Watch%2C+performs+on+the+Lory+Student+Center+lawn+with+the+rest+of+his+group+including%2C+CJ+Herbert%2C+Ian+McMurry%2C+Toby+Yoder%2C+and+Sage+Franks+Sept.+16.

Collegian | Reiley Costa

Logan Baker, lead singer of the band Neighborhood Watch, performs on the Lory Student Center West Lawn with the rest of his group, including CJ Hebert, Ian McMurry, Toby Yoder and Sage Franks Sept. 16. Baker said being a part of the band has changed his life, saying, “I wasn’t really doing anything before the band, and it’s all I do now.”

Christina Jacobson , Guest Author

Neighborhood Watch, a relatively new band local to Fort Collins, recently gained popularity through playing at well-known venues such as The Lyric and winning KCSU’s Battle of the Bands competition.

The community support and fan engagement for Neighborhood Watch has accelerated since these shows. 

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Lead singer Logan Baker and guitarist Sage Franks opened up about the triumphs, challenges and origin of their band.

As a college student at Colorado State University, Franks spent a lot of his time shredding his guitar on the campus Intramural Fields. There, he met fellow guitarist CJ Hebert, bassist Ian McMurry and drummer Toby Yoder. With an incredible passion for music, the four decided to form a band. However, they knew they needed another member. Luckily, Franks was able to recruit his former roommate, Baker.

After many garage practices and a lot of fine tuning, the boys played their first show in a backyard with about 15 audience members. Their most recent show, opening for the Krooked Kings at The Lyric, was significantly more popular, with around 300 audience members. The band can’t believe how everything skyrocketed.

“It’s honestly startling because it can put a lot of big dreams into reality, like making an album,” Baker said. “Seeing our growth now has really opened a lot for the future.”

Baker also mentioned the importance of connections and social media when it comes to securing a gig venue. 

On Sept. 8, Neighborhood Watch competed with three other bands in the Battle of the Bands competition. A roaring crowd surrounded the stage outside the Lory Student Center to experience Neighborhood Watch. As the crowd danced and moshed, they weren’t afraid to show their love and appreciation. 

After a vote conducted by students through Instagram polls, KCSU announced the winners of the contest. This left Neighborhood Watch with a first place award, a $450 cash prize and a spot in one of Fort Collins’ biggest music events of the year, FoCoMX

When asked about how the band advertises, Baker and Franks confirmed friends spreading the word undeniably helps with the turnout for shows.

“We would be nothing without the fans and the people who support us,” Franks said. 

“We’ll bring out tambourines, jaw harps — we’re not afraid to experiment and be different. Obviously, the sound we’re going for has been done before, but that doesn’t mean we want to hold ourselves in a box.” –Logan Baker, Neighborhood Watch lead singer

Each member of Neighborhood Watch drew influence from different artists who greatly contributed to the overall sound of the band. Frank’s fascination with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Baker’s love for hip-hop, McMurry’s psychedelic vibe, Yoder’s devotion to the Grateful Dead and Hebert’s inspiration from Van Halen all contribute to their sound. 

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When asked about unique traits of the band, Franks and Baker responded with no hesitation.

“We get onstage, and me and CJ (Hebert) will play our guitars behind our heads, fall on the ground (or) play a kazoo solo,” Franks said. 

Baker showed great appreciation for the band members’ willingness to join in on whatever stunt they decide to pull onstage.

“We’ll bring out tambourines, jaw harps — we’re not afraid to experiment and be different,” Baker said. “Obviously, the sound we’re going for has been done before, but that doesn’t mean we want to hold ourselves in a box.”

Original fan of the band Charlotte Wolf shared her two cents on what makes Neighborhood Watch stand out.

“For one, they have very good stage presence; they’re very silly, they’re approachable to the crowd and they bring you into the set,” Wolf said. “Another thing that sets them apart (from) a lot of bands (is) when you first hear their original music, it’s (not) hard to catch on. Neighborhood Watch’s songs are easy to sing along and dance to. It doesn’t take five listens to enjoy the music.”

Despite the band’s growing success, they still face challenges, especially when it comes to resources. Finding a manager, in addition to finding the time and finances to record an extended play, is another wall the band continues to run into. However, their excitement to expand their sound helps them overcome these struggles. 

According to a 2015 Billboard article, Pink Floyd, Queen, the Pixies and R.E.M. all formed in college. Neighborhood Watch could be the next famous band added to the list. 

Neighborhood Watch plans to keep their creative spirit alive and continue playing and making connections all around Fort Collins. 

Reach Christina Jacobson at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @csucollegian.