By Niki D’Andrea
So there’s this battle of the bands. I know what local musicians are thinking: why would I wanna drag my equipment down to a venue with a substandard sound system to play for 20 minutes in front of 50 people that are all friends of the other bands? And I know what local music fans are thinking: why would I pay five bucks to hear my friends’ “okay” band and four other “sucky” bands I’ve never heard of rattle my eardrums with radio rock-fashioned drivel?
But this particular battle of the bands looks different. Better, even. This is the “Arizona Rock Fight,” and, besides sounding like we’re gonna be in the heart of a ballistic granite storm, the event promises 24 of the Valley’s best bands will leave their all on stage over the course of four weeks. Why will they bother? Because the prizes are pretty damn sweet.
But before we get to the goods, we must pause to disclose that the Rock Fight is presented by several local purveyors of cool shit: Club Mardi Gras in Scottsdale, radio station 98 KUPD, Highland Recorders, Pro Action Media, Hostile Clothing, and yours truly, Phoenix New Times.
So what can bands win? Well, prizes include:
70 hours of recording time at Highland Recorders (the same Valley studio where Phunk Junkeez and Fall Out Boy have recorded)
$500 cash to the overall winner
A $750 shopping spree at Hostile Clothing (Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale)
1000 pressed and shrink-wrapped CDs from Pro Action Media
A CD release party at Club Mardi Gras
An opening slot on the local stops of either the Crüefest Tour (July 31, featuring Mötley Crüe, Papa Roach, and Buck Cherry) or the U-Fest (a.k.a. the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Tour, July 19, featuring Slipknot, Disturbed, and DragonForce).
The contest starts at Club Mardi Gras on Saturday, May 31, with three more preliminary competitions taking place on subsequent Saturdays: June 7, June 14, and June 21. Each preliminary round show will include six local bands, with two winners from each show. Semi-Finals take place Saturday, July 5, and Saturday, July 12, with the championship show on Saturday, July 19 (yes, that does make winning an opening slot on U-Fest -- also taking place that night -- a little tricky).
Half of the judging comes from audience participation, and the other half comes from industry peeps from KUPD, Highland Recorders, and other sponsors. Each participating band gets 60 pre-sale tickets, and the order in which they play at the shows is determined by how many pre-sale tickets they sold. In addition, bands get to keep $3 from every $8 pre-sale ticket sold.
I haven’t gotten word yet on which local bands will be participating, but since there’s only room for 24 of them in Arizona Rock Fight, suffice to say that this will be a great place to hear some of the best local rock we’ve got going right now.