The band is only seven months old. It didn't really perform in public until September, and most of its members hadn't even heard of the Club Wars competition until the week they signed up.
"I could probably count the number of shows we played before Club Wars on one hand," bassist Marcus Wilkinson says. "We were -- and still are -- pretty green. But we have improved a lot just through that experience."
So the Lawrence upstarts gave it the old college try before capitulating to more seasoned competitors and learned -- like that damned turtle -- an important lesson about the value of painstaking persistence, right?
The band annihilated a field allegedly filled with some of the area's finest hard-rock bands and captured the Club Wars championship in emphatic style on November 12 in front of a raucous SideWise contingent at the Beaumont Club.
"We felt good about what we were doing, but we weren't expecting that to happen," Wilkinson admits. "We consider ourselves to be students -- and we still have a lot to learn."
So much for the curve.
To be fair, most of the band's members have been jamming together since 2001. The informal group spent the past three years honing its instrumentals and auditioning some 40 potential singers. The band finally jelled this past April when Jeff Davidson took over drumming duties from Matt "Nico" Nikoomanesh, clearing the way for Nico to become the frontman.
"He was the only one with the gall to sing," Wilkinson says with a laugh. "At first it wasn't really pretty, but he's improved dramatically in a short amount of time."
As has the rest of the band. In a few short months, SideWise -- whose dense sound earns plenty of Tool comparisons -- has gone from playing bonfire parties to planning a Midwest tour for next summer. And the Club Wars win has given the band the resources it needs to release its debut album, Digest the Moon, next month.
Proof that good things can happen to those who don't wait.