Music Maker Workshops Battle of the Bands at Club Red, 5/6/12

Music Maker Workshops Battle of the Bands Club Red Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pint-size rockers of Ahwatukee's Music Maker Workshops dueled it out at the school's first battle of the bands of the year Sunday night at Club Red in Tempe.

The school takes kids between the ages of 8 and 17, and gives them the foundations of being in a band. From booking gigs to mastering their respective instruments, the youths are given a crash course in rock stardom over 20 week semesters.

Sunday night's contestants included 3 Midget Militia, Sinners and Shankers, parent-band Stay Off My Lawn, Archetype, Nuclear Winter and the competition winners, Shattered Kennys. The junior musicians served as openers for headliners Halfcup Sodapop, who came in second at a national battle of bands two weeks ago.

I really enjoyed listening to the Valley's bright future and participating as a judge of such an event for the very first time.

We judged the bands on criteria that included overall music performance, stage presence, appearance, and crowd reaction. Although there was a wide range of skill level on stage, every act brought something to the table and didn't fold under pressure.

They played everything from ska to punk, and metal to top 40, with covers of bands like The White Stripes, Green Day, Muse ,and even Adele.

Stay Off My Lawn comprised adults, so they weren't eligible to win the event, which promised a photography session with 12North Photography and 24 band stickers from Lionhat Stickers to the runner-up, while first place won band T-shirts from Macleod's T-Shirts, a photography session, band stickers and six hours of recording time at Tall Cat studios. All bands participating received a full-size band poster from Pitney Bowes.

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By my scorecard, the battle came down to metal-shredding Archetype, and pop-loving Shattered Kennys. Archetype proved to be tighter musically, with some impressive guitar licks during covers of Killswitch Engage and Metallica, but Kennys edged it out for me by engaging the crowd with a fun little set that included covers of fun., Adam Sandler's The Wedding Singer song, "Somebody Kill Me," and funny enough, Dexys Midnight Runners. (I wrote about the '80s band in last week's edition of Flashback Friday.)

Big kudos to all of the performers and Music Maker Workshops for putting these shows together.

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