The last time I was asked to judge a battle of the bands or "American Idol"-style event it was a disaster for reasons I won't waste your time going into here, but suffice it to say, I've done my best to avoid these things for a while.
But my streak came to end a couple weeks ago when Kevin Brandt asked me to join him and Banshee Music's Jeff Horrigan and judge the fourth annual Downtown Battle of the Bands hosted by Westown Association at Pere Marquette Park. The event, on Wednesday, July 29 from 5 to 9 p.m., takes place during River Rhythms and is part of Downtown Employee Appreciation Week. The music starts at 6:30.
I just learned that the competitiors are:
- Signalfire (rock/metal)
- MI5 (rock/alternative/alt country)
- Eric McKinney (pop/acoustic/hip-hop)
- Honky Tonk-it-is (honky-tonk/rockabilly)
- The Katz Sass (blues/rock)
- Melissa Czarnik with The Eric Mire Band (hip-hop)
And that's good because, as far as I know, I don't know anyone in these bands.
Each act gets 15 minutes on stage and will be evaluated on "content, use of time, originality, musical ability, stage presence and audience response."
But I'll tell ya what, would-be winners, I'll give you more points for an OK original tune than for a well-performed cover. Unless they tell me I'm not allowed to do that. Then, well, I guess I won't.
The winning band gets a slot at Summerfest 2010, presumably opening for the Marcus Amphitheater opener on the first Friday of the Big Gig. OK, I'm just kidding about that. There are also other prizes -- described as "fabulous" -- for the top three winners.
The event, like all River Rhythms concerts, is free and open to all.
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