The DLX was recently named the winner of the Southern Miss Student Government Association’s first ever Battle of the Bands contest after a live voting round.
The Battle of the Bands was SGA’s attempt to incorporate a local opening act in Eaglepalooza, an annual SGA-sponsored free concert that started in 2004 and continues to draw increasingly larger crowds to Historic Downtown Hattiesburg. On its website, SGA explained that it annually “expands student and community collaboration to make this much anticipated event a success,” seeking especially to “provide local businesses and organizations plenty of opportunities to come together and invest in their community and local university, leaving Hattiesburg a richer and more pleasant place to call home.”
DLX frontman and USM alumnus Shawn Chambliss was drawn to this sense of community.
“I’ve seen Eaglepalooza grow from the beginning,” Chambliss said. “Hattiesburg, USM and Eaglepalooza all have a special place in my life.”
Chambliss was excited to have the opportunity to open for Echosmith, a band that itself has opened for Taylor Swift and toured with Twenty One Pilots, his favorite band.
“Pursuing an opportunity to be a part of that was a no-brainer,” Chambliss said.
Sophomore Johnathan Parr believes Eaglepalooza is a fantastic opportunity to unite people through music. As a music major, he is particularly excited to see the disparity between Eaglepalooza and the concerts he typically attends.
“I get to experience a different kind of concert setting where the visual aesthetic of the performance is also as important as the music,” Parr said.
The DLX was formed about three years ago, when Chambliss met his best friends Mark Wheat, who plays drums, and Ethan Manning, who plays guitar.
“We started playing around with some singer-songwriter stuff I had written, quickly threw it out the door and started to craft what would eventually become our own little genre-blending, off-the- wall pop sound,” Chambliss said.
They were soon joined by Mark’s then-girlfriend and now-wife Joy, who provided background vocals and played keyboard.
For the first year and a half, The DLX focused on planning live shows and finding how to set themselves apart from other acts. A year ago, they released their first song to the public and started playing shows.
“We pride ourselves on not just playing music, but giving the audience an entertaining show visually as well,” Chambliss said.
The 12th annual Eaglepalooza concert is sponsored by Sim- Tex and will be in downtown Hattiesburg on Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m., following USM’s football game against Old Dominion.