Tag Archives: Mid-Atlantic Band Battle

Battle results

Greetings, (close personal) friends!
Not a lot of time today, but last Friday night, I was a judge at the 12th edition of Jammin Java’s Mid-Atlantic Band Battle, and the evening’s host promised from the stage that I would be posting photos and such from the event here at CPF.

To make good on that promise, here is a shot of the winning band, Leesburg, VA’s own Swell Daze, with their oversized prize check and producer Jim Ebert, who will produce for them as part of their booty haul.
SD with Pat
I also wrote up the night for my column at examiner, so you can get many more photos and a bunch o’ words, too, if you click right here.

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Jammin’ Java Band Battle recaps…

Two nights, 13 bands, 2 winners.

The 11th edition of the Jammin’ Java Mid-Atlantic Band Battle held its preliminary competitions last week, and I was judge on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Host Nate Ihara repeatedly touted that I’d be posting photos here, but I wound up writing up each night as stories for examiner.com instead.

And so, if you’ve come here to CPF looking for MABB coverage, please use the following links:

Tuesday night, July 1, the winning band was Skyward.

Skyward

Wednesday night, July 2, the winning band was Shade Parade.

Shade Win2

 

 

 

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Goals and Guitars

So, tonight I’ll be back at the judges’ table for the second night of Jammin Java’s Mid-Atlantic Band Battle #11. It’s a twice yearly thing at the club now, and I’ve been happy to be asked to take part in many of the preceding events. Always a good time watching good regional musicians and seeing area pals who work at the club and on the local music scene.

Although the USA vs. Belgium World Cup game is highly distracting at the moment, I thought it would be a good idea to stop in here at the (long-neglected) blog to update some of my recent activities since, when the judges are introduced, the host/MC (hoping it’s Nate Ihara again) usually mentions the blog, where I’ll be posting photos and saying a little bit about each performer – but I won’t reveal the thoughts behind the judges’ scoring.

Because it sounds good, it’s usually mentioned that I write for Rolling Stone and The Washington Post. The correct tense should be have written, as it’s been some time since I’ve had a byline in either. RS was back when I lived in NYC, many years ago. As for the Post, I had a nice 5-year run doing a local arts events (mostly concerts) column for the Fairfax and Arlington regional sections, but when those were switched to a generic “Local Living” section, I lost that gig. And, as anyone who follows media knows, newspapers have been shrinking their staffs for some time now and freelancers like myself are the first to be shown out.

But I still writing about music, albeit online, where the pay is lousy and junk journalism runs free. I keep my hand in the game and my body in the photo pit by writing features and reviews and creating concert photo slideshows for examiner.com. I have two columns there:

Digital Music –  interviews and album reviews, plus links to free, legal downloads

DC Concert Photography – concert previews, reviews and live photo slideshows

There will be a new review up soon – country/rock/punk from Nikki Lane, whom I saw, and thoroughly enjoyed, this past Friday at Gypsy Sally’s in Georgetown. Here’s a pair of pics as preview:

whassup, Nikki Lane?

whassup, Nikki Lane?

Lane was down to a terry-cloth bathing suit by show's end. (The club was hot.)

Lane was down to a terry-cloth bathing suit by show’s end. (The club was hot.)

And then there’s my own special “baby,” a web site that I designed and run, dedicated to concert photography and the sharing of my personal holy grail at shows – the set list. Like a fingerprint, each one is different. Like a mixtape/CD, how it’s put together gives you insight into a band or artist’s own feelings about his/her/their music. Here, for example, is one from a recent Foo Fighters show:

Foos

The web site is called Whatcha Gonna Play.com and I hope you’ll take a look.

We’ve just hit the mid-game break and the score is Nil-Nil. (I know a kid named Nils and he’s not nothing.) Gonna wrap this up and concentrate on sending the US team my positive karma for the second half.

Thanks for dropping by. Band Battle words and pics coming soon!

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Band Battle Redux, January 9, 2014

Last night  (Thursday, 1-9-13), I was back at my favorite local joint, Jammin Java, for the final night of preliminaries in the club’s Mid-Atlantic Band Battle #10. (You can read a summary of Tuesday night’s contest two blog entries back.)

Good news – it was a particularly fun night with lots of friendly chat with judges, patrons, band members and staff. Bad news – the night ran long, with extra time between sets causing the evening to finish about an hour later than scheduled.

That’s what’s known as a First World Problem. Any time you can set in a comfy spot, hear lots of local music, eat good food (for free; it’s a judges’ perk) and hear people clap for your name (host Nate Ihara makes the judges introductions a fun ego-boost), it’s a good time.  Here’s what went down, with blurry photos taken from the judges table. (For good photos, check out Act Of Light’s web site; their photog Frank was taking pro shots all night.)

First band up was Static, a quintet with a female lead vocalist. It’s always tough to be the first band, with people still drifting into the venue, but Static did a good job, made more admirable when I discovered that some of the band members are still in 8th and 10th grade! Let’s hear it for young talent!

Static

The second act was Skypunch, another quintet with a female lead vocalist. In talking with a few members of this DC-based band later, I learned that they’ve only been together a short while and hasn’t much live performance experience. Their set was nonetheless smooth and enjoyable.

Skypunch

Skypunch

The third act, Don’t Look Down, is not to be confused with a similarly named band that made some news (including a mention in Seventeen magazine!) a few years back. This quintet (five out of six acts this night were five-member bands) has been together about three years and plays an invigorating pop/punk blend that made for a bracing mid-show set. A revved-up cover of Blessid Union of Souls’ “Hey Leonardo” (a.k.a. “She Likes Me for Me”) was a good choice, too.

Don't Look Down

Don’t Look Down

With a band name like His Dream of Lions, you expect something a little different, and our fourth act, another young band, stood out for its mix of good looks and pop/rock licks.  The group is looking to release its first album later this year and opened for Aaron Carter at Fillmore Silver Spring last fall.

I’m glad I got a clear shot of the band as they were getting ready to play, since I was too busy enjoying the music to take a lot of shots once they began.

HDOL

His Dream of Lions

His Dream of Lions

The only band to break the quintet rule this night was the fifth act – DTMG (no, I don’t know what it stands for, and they weren’t telling) – which filled both the stage and the room by virtue of six players and two female singers. A true party band, DTMG mixed a lot of funky cover tunes into its set, including bits of Chuck Brown’s “Bustin’ Loose” and Sly Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin”).

DTMG

DTMG

Such a crowd-pleasing set made for a tough act to follow, but the night’s final contestants, Motorcade, our fifth quintet, with a female support vocalist and guitarist/singer frontman, brought the show to a close with a set of mid-tempo originals.

Motorcade

Motorcade

At each of these events, as the scores are tallied, I share the audience’s anticipation in wondering who will win. The judges don’t talk about their favorites and we don’t see each other’s sheets, filled out with marks for songwriting, presence and other performance aspects, so I don’t know who the winner will be until Nate Ihara, our genial host, announces it from the stage.

Nate Ihara

Nate Ihara

Tonight, that winner happened to be…DTMG. And they seemed to be quite happy about it…

DTMG celebrates

DTMG celebrates

So, that means that the finals, to be held on February 28th, will feature these four acts:  Christian Lopez & Joe Taxi, CODA,  Beggars Made Believers, and DTMG.  All the details – including the full list of prizes and how to get advance tickets – here.
Until then, have fun and support local music!

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Live from Jammin Java’s Mid-Atlantic Band Battle, Jan. 7, 2014

On Tuesday night, I sat at the judges’ table during the second of four nights in the preliminary rounds of Jammin Java’s Mid-Atlantic Band Battle #10 (yes, #10!). Six bands performed, but only one advances to the finals, the winner of which will get a range of prizes like studio time, a professional photo shoot, a Jammin Java headline show and even an official press bio written by a published music journalist (me?!)

As usual, it was a great chance to catch up with some fine local bands and this particular night had two recurring themes – youth and hard rock. The first band on was Whyte Crimson, a four-piece instrumental band that brought some heavy riffage to the club. (BTW, I must apologize in advance for the quality of the photos. I was using a basic camera, not my SLR, and shot mostly from a distance, while sitting at the judges’ table.) Here’s the Reston-based Whyte Crimson, complete with congas!

Whyte Crimson

Next up was Bachs of Rock, a group that made an impression for bringing a big sound despite the fact that all the members are under 16. Their set included covers of the Beatles and Metallica.

Bachs of Rock

Bachs of Rock

Third band up was Good Morning Tides, who had a howling lead singer, a wild guitarist and a sense of dynamics, moving from quick tempo to slow…

Good Morning Tides

Good Morning Tides

As the night moved into its second half, another young band took the stage – Coda – whose band members are also teens. One of the judges mentioned that he saw the band open for a Tool cover band at Fillmore Silver Spring and was impressed. So was I when they began playing. Even though I’m not, by nature, a frequent hard rock  listener, I can appreciate a lead singer who knows how to sing/scream with control and good pitch, and this kid had it.

Coda

Coda

The Maryland-based band has studied its Led Zeppelin songbook well, playing with equal parts power and hooks, especially on a song that I’m guessing could be called “Messenger/Prophesy.” At its end, I turned to the hard rocking judges next to me and asked if it was an obscure metal classic I didn’t know, but was told it was an original. Points! (I’m writing this while watching “@Midnight.”)

Our evening’s host, Nate Ihara, shared a photo of Coda that he took from his vantage point closer to the stage and it’s a great action shot…

Coda

Coda

Things heated up with the arrival of the penultimate (I love that word) band, Skyward, a five piece with U2-like ringing guitars and catchy, anthemic choruses. They also had a great moment when everyone played various drums/percussion for a mighty noise. (This is another photo from Nate.)

Skyward

a Skyward

And last but not (as the saying goes) least, came another quintet, Playground Etiquette, from Baltimore. This group also had a fierce singer (this one female) who played guitar as well, and offered  the unique accents of violin. (I grabbed this shot on the way back from the ladies room, so there’s a little better focus and perspective.)

Playground Etiquette

Playground Etiquette

I’d like to think there are no losers in these Band Battles, as all the musicians who make it to the preliminaries, after scores of acts submitted music for consideration, have shown themselves worthy of a hearing. As for the judging, with points given for musicianship, look, crowd response and other factors, it sometimes comes down to very tight margins. On this night, the winner was…Coda!

The guys will go on to play against the three other preliminary night champs on February 28.

I’m judging again tonight (Thursday, January 9) and have to hit the road shortly, so better wrap it up.  Thanks for reading and support local music!

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Jammin Java Mid-Atlantic Band Battle – a view from the judges table

Arteless won the night with a funky set.

Arteless won the night with a funky set.

I was asked again to judge at Jammin Java’s Mid-Atlantic Band Battle on Tuesday night, which is always a good time and great chance to catch up with local music. Spent this morning finishing an article and photo gallery about it for my DC Concert Photography column at examiner.com. And then the damn Content Management System went all crazy, wiped out the article (luckily, I still have the first draft) and refused to properly publish the slideshow, so it will not be appearing in search engines. (On the downside of being a freelancer, I have no in-house IT department.)

But for you stalwart souls who visit this site, you can view the slideshow here.

I’ll be back at the judges table tonight and will attempt another article/gallery tomorrow, so please check back in.

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