When the grand prize for a Battle of the Bands series includes 70 hours of recording time at Highland Recorders (birthplace of recordings and mixes for the likes of Fall Out Boy and Phunk Junkeez), $500 cash, a $750 shopping spree at Highland Clothing in Scottsdale Fashion Square, and an opening slot at U-Fest to set the stage for acts like Disturbed and Slipknot, the competition has got to be good. So it was with local rock station 98 KUPD's "Rock Fight" series (also sponsored by New Times). Among the 22 bands who duked it out (and advanced) in the preliminary rounds were metal monsters The Human Condition (featuring Wiley Arnett from Sacred Reich), trip-hop/rock outfit Bionic Jive (featuring Blunt Club host Emerg McVay), hard rockers The Sammus Theory (who've enjoyed some exposure already on MTV2), and metal band The Asylum.
Perhaps the reason the battles were such wars was because not just any band could pay a fee and enter — the contestants were chosen from CDs sent to KUPD DJ Shan Man. This series enjoyed its inaugural run this summer, with preliminary rounds every Saturday from May 31 through June 21, semifinals Saturday, July 5, and Friday, July 11, and finals the following Saturday, July 12. We expect a strong Rock Fight next summer, too, in the name of keeping the Valley hot.