Battle of the Bands features the best in hard rock and heavy metal.
Thursday, August 5, 2004
Mike Garing is a realist. The advertising sales manager for Your Music Magazine, a Santa Cruz-based monthly rag highlighting regional bands and national touring acts passing through the Monterey Bay area, knows that sometimes it takes a little more than great music to get people out in the clubs. So, since 2000, Garing has helped organize a battle of the bands in Santa Cruz to promote local groups.
Starting this Friday night at the Lava Lounge, Garing is bringing a similar seven-week-long competition to Monterey. The first night of the musical skirmish features local heavy metal bands F.S.U., Last Act of Man and Retribution. Some of the bands duking it out later in the competition include hard-rocking Plaster and Righteous Anger; punk rockers Hate for State; heavy metalheads Liquid 8; new rockers In Like Sin; and Latin-rockers Flojos Nos Visten.
All of the 18 participating bands are fighting for one of six slots in the finals, to be held on Sept. 17 at Club Octane. The overall winner of the contest will take home $1,500 plus prizes.
Though Garing says that the competition includes bands playing all sorts of music, popular locals’ bands like bluesy Red Beans & Rice and reggae act Jonah & the Whalewatchers are notably not in the contest. It is apparent from the lineup that the competition is primarily between rock and metal acts.
Garing believes that the Santa Cruz Battle of the Bands has had a positive influence on our neighbor to the north’s music scene. “It gets more people out there that would probably not go to the [individual band’s] show,” he says.
In addition, Garing hopes that the Monterey Battle of the Bands will show Santa Cruz residents that there are some great bands down here.
“I think people in Santa Cruz need to know there is enough fun in Monterey,” he says. “That they don’t need to drive over the hill.”
Instead of judges, every audience member will help choose the six bands going to the finals. Obviously, the band that brings the most fans to the Lava Lounge each night will have the greatest chance of advancing to the finals. But Garing believes the public vote is a legitimate way to determine the winner.
“The bands that are truly good get more people out,” he says. “In order to win the Battle of the Bands, you can’t be a flash-in-the-pan.”
He points to the well-respected winners of the Santa Cruz contest—groups like Ribsy’s Nickel, The Expendables, Dub Congress and The Chop Tops—as proof that the system works.
Also, despite the fact that the competition is called the Monterey Battle of the Bands, Santa Cruz groups like Primal Jaimal, Asyst and 3 Up Front will be in the contest.
So remember to get out there and vote.