WhatzUp Magazine, SweetWater Sound, 98.9 The Bear, DigiTracks Recording Studio, Columbia Street West, The Fort Wayne Digital Media Production Group, Wooden Nickel & FortWayneMusic.com
Damn it's been a little while... let's see if I remember how to do this.
So a couple Thursdays ago (yeah I told you I was a slacker didn't I?) marked the culmination of all things good about local music and really the reason I do what I do for FortWayneMusic. Great bands, great people, and a great venue! It marked the end of the 3 month long competition to see the best band around is. Congratulations to KILL THE RABBIT (http://www.myspace.com/thekilltherabbitband) on taking home first prize and a whole year's worth of bragging rights! Actually Congratulations to all 4 bands who played in the final round. Winners KILL THE RABBIT, 2nd Place Krimsha (www.krimsha.com), 3rd Place Exterminate All Rational Thought (http://bit.ly/94R3rG), and 4th Place Blood From a Stone (http://bit.ly/a8nBkP). All 4 of these bands beat out 36 other hopefuls for a chance to play for over their share of $23,000 in cash + prizes and in front of nationally signed act, Adelita's Way (http://www.myspace.com/adelitasway), who stopped in as guest judges for the final round (thanks for coming out fellas!). If you missed this year's finals, you missed one of the best local shows in a long time.
Let me start off by thanking all the sponsors for making this thing happen. WhatzUp, SweetWater Sound, 98.9 The Bear, DigiTrack's Recording Studio, Columbia Street West, Fort Wayne Digital Media Production Group, Wooden Nickel and FortWayneMusic.com. Special thanks to Richard for running sound every round. You are definitely a master of your craft. If it wasn't for these great businesses, there wouldn't be a competition for bands to prove they are worth a shit or bring so many good bands together for a common goal - To show the city that the local music scene is alive and rockin'. It was a GREAT competition this year. MUCH MUCH better than last years and I've heard (I'm not quite old enough to remember the 1st 5 BOTBs, get off me) that it was one of the best ever. Over 400 people came out to show their support for their favorite bands and there were still people who didn't pay a cover or vote! It was asses-to-elbows at Columbia Street that night. I have never seen so many people at a "local" show.
Next I want to thank all the bands that participated in the competition. Without you guys (even the ones that didn't get past the first round), there would be no battle. Thank you all for putting up that $40 (or $20 for returning competitors) and showing Fort Wayne what you got. In each of the rounds there were bands I liked, and maybe a couple I didn't like. What I liked is that every one of the bands that showed up, performed, and showed support for every one of the other bands. No matter if you won, or were put out of the first round, you played in front of someone that had never seen you before (and maybe even never heard of you). But you might have gained a new fan. Haha I know a few bands got my vote that I had never even heard of! If your band didn't win because of crowd vote, build your following. The crowd doesn't lie. If your band didn't win because of judges score, look at your scores and make some adjustments. These guys do know what they are talking about. But no matter what you do step it up for next year and get your share of the thousands in cash and prizes the winners get.
Now onto the competition itself. I've overheard people (and bands alike) say that it's rigged. I've overheard people say the judges are biased. I've overheard people bitching about the competition and have no working knowledge of... well, how it really works. The best band wins. Plain and simple. You know the rules going in and how the scores are calculated. I got to talk to JerrDog a little bit and for anyone who says it's rigged he would like to personally show you how the scores are tabulated and make you feel stupid for your band not doing what you were supposed to do and tear it up. Now I've quoted this guy a couple times in my stories but this one takes the cake... I asked him how he liked hosting the whole thing and he said "I LOVE hosting the competition. It doesn't matter if I'm exhausted, sick, or trying to pass a kidney stone, I always enjoy coming out to Columbia Street on Thursday nights to host the Battle of the Bands". Yeah seriously... Dude hosted a couple shows with that shit. I also got to talk with a couple of the other judges and ask their thoughts on the whole thing as well. The overall consensus was that everyone was happy with the results, the 4 best bands in the competition ended up in the final round. The winner kicked ass at what they did and brought a shit ton of people to prove it. I mean it's not necessarily my type of music (the 80's ballad stuff) but they were DAMN GOOD at it. DAMN GOOD.
My favorite part of the Battle of the Bands is getting to see new music that you would never go think to just go see. It gives everyone a level playing field (sound, lights, venue, etc...) to put on their best show. I'm sure a lot of the bands that performed played their asses off and probably played some of their best shows during the competition. There were a ton of new bands this year that had never entered in the Battle, or hadn't even been together since the last competition ended. Mixing a fresh crowd into a music scene that is still kickin' ass and getting bigger every day. Hip-Hop, Dub, Rasta, Jazz, and Blues musicians... listen up. This thing needs more genres represented. I want to see someone bring something completely different next year and tear it up. Bring your people, and bring your A-GAME. There is some raw talent around town (and the surrounding areas) that need to do this! Oh that brings me to something else..... ALL BANDS FROM FORT WAYNE.... Step your game up. The last 2 Battle of the Bands competitions have been won by bands not from around here. They showed up and were essentially the best bands around. They are in the listening area, so yes, they are allowed to compete. I can't believe you all would let another "local" band come into your city and take home the title of Battle of the Bands Champion. So don't let it happen again. I'll personally pay the winner of the next Battle's entry fee if they are from Fort Wayne. Unbelievable.
Overall the competition fucking kicked ass though. I don't really know how else to describe it. Saw some new interesting music. An all instrumental band placed 3rd saying nothing more than "Hi we're EARThought... Hope you enjoy" and it was their first time doing the competition. Saw alot of new metal which was cool. Around 2500 people supported local music by paying their cover and voting, and 40 bands showed those people what they were made of. I love local music. This type of shit is why I do what I do. I don't get paid to write reviews (FWM!!!!) I just love watching live music. Especially when it forces the bands to put on their best show. The Semi-final and Final rounds were especially incredible. I'd like to see all 8 of those bands come back and go at it again next year. They all killed it. The final round was exactly what I expected it to be, EPIC. Over 400 paid bodies, incredible sound and performances, and one hell of a good time. Thank you all the sponsors for putting on such an awesome event. There's no other place around that will give these bands a chance to do something like this. Thanks to Chris, Peter, and JerrDog for letting me bother you guys. Thanks to all the bands for showing up and doing your best. Thanks to Richard and Columbia Street for providing the perfect venue for the event. Thanks to the final round judges (Capitol Records + Adelita's Way) for stopping out and letting us show you what Fort Wayne Music is all about.
So do me a favor... Next summer, when you have nothing to do on a Thursday night, if the Tin Caps are in town definitely stop by for $1.00 beer night and then make your way to Columbia Street. You won't be disappointed.
PS... Tell WhatzUp you want me as a judge next year.