Stakes are getting pretty high at Hard Rock Hotel’s battle of the bands competition -- this time around, the winning act gets a trip to Barcelona to perform at the premiere Hard Rock Rising music festival. It all begins with hyper-local competitions at various Hard Rocks across the world, including our own. Come Thursday, April 16, three more bands -- Blackout Party, Gunner Gunner and DNT -- battle it out for a chance to compete in the San Diego finals in May.
In the first heat, Buddy Banter beat out the Whiskey Circle and Glasmus to advance to the finals, while Low Volts took the vote against Vudu Fly, Gone Baby Gone and Falling Doves in the second heat. The winner of the third round will meet those two in the finals on May 7 to compete for $1,000 and a slot in the brackets at regionals -- plus, of course, the chance to make it all the way to Barcelona.
“I’ve paid attention to this even over the years,” Tim Pyles, host of 91x Loudspeaker, tells SoundDiego. “Usually it would be bands that maybe weren’t in the upper echelon of our music scene. But Camron [Zibaie, of BLK OWL and Goose & Mavrk] made an effort to get a lot of the legit San Diego bands involved. They definitely have a better pool of talent that’s participating in this competition,” he adds. “One of these bands has a chance to go on and win.”
Pyles has a hand in advancing that San Diego band forward. This year he joins the panel of judges, which also includes 94.9FM host TJ, vocalists Robbie and Burkey of Vokab Kompany, City Beat’s Jason Noble and the aforementioned Zibaie. Though he won’t be at the third round, Pyles will return for the finals on May 7, looking for originality, good songwriting, genuine talent and showmanship: “Can’t just stand there,” Pyles says. “Gotta have a little bit of swagger in your hips or something.”
Advice to Buddy Banter, Low Volts and whoever takes the third round: Shake those hips. They may just generate enough momentum to take you all the way to Spain.
Blackout Party, Gunner Gunner and DNT perform at the Hard Rock Hotel on Thursday, April 16, at 8 p.m. Support your local favorites and RSVP at www.207sdtickets.com to get in on the next heat for free, or shell out $5 at the door.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.