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United Front among those in Battle of the Bands

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United Front among those in Battle of the Bands

Members of United Front – Aaron Leonard, Rodrigo Ramirez, Jonah Ledesma and Ray Barber – will be competing at the Manteca Youth Focus/GK Music Battle of the Bands on Saturday.

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED February 27, 2013 1:04 a.m.

High school bands come and high school bands go.

People get busy with schoolwork. People get involved in sports.

But for Jonah Ledesma and the rest of United Front, music is everything – not a replacement for the day-to-day tasks that modern students have to deal with, but a worthwhile reward and a social structure that they’re proud to be a part of.

Since 2010 the band has been polishing its hard rock sound – with a tinge of an alternative lean – in the vein of popular acts like the Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Metallica and Stone Temple Pilots.

Ledesma handles all of the work behind the microphone stand and plays a bit of guitar, while a three-member body rounds out the rest of the tight-knit crew – Aaron Leonard on lead guitar, Rodrigo Ramirez on bass and Ray Barber behind the kit.

And come Saturday when they compete in the Manteca Youth Focus/GK Music Battle of the Bands and the Manteca Senior Center, United Front, says Ledesma, will be ready to show Manteca and others in the scene just what they’re made of.

Just don’t expect a hard-line attitude from the laid-back crew.

“We’ve entered two of these competitions before, and the atmosphere is usually really exciting – there are a lot of bands there and you get to hear a lot of good music,” Ledesma said. “But it’s not really a competition. Everybody there encourages one another when they get ready to go out on stage.

“We’re all musicians and we mesh together and it’s really genial and really fun.”

The event, which will be held at the Manteca Senior Center on March 2, will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door.

Ledesma says that he realizes that it isn’t everyday that you come across a band that stays together throughout high school, and believes that is evident when you listen to the evolution of their music over a four-year period.

Early crude recordings have been replaced by more expensive studio time. The bond needed amongst members to establish the necessary flow is stronger than ever. Things, he says, are “more polished.”

“It’s the camaraderie with the other guys that I think is really important and is something that has grown for us,” he said. “When you’re up there on stage or in practice and you connect with other people – when you get in that zone and everything just fits together perfectly and the song gets great.

“That’s why we do what we do.”

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