It seems every month there's a Battle of the Bands going on in Tulsa or the surrounding area. Sure, they all serve a purpose: primarily to give bands a chance to get out and play and be exposed to an audience for whom they might not have had a chance to perform. As a whole, they're so commonplace that it's often hard to get too excited about them, but on occasion a few pop up that are worth some extra attention.
One of these contests is this year's "Rock the 918" Battle of the Bands at Cain's Ballroom Thursday, Oct. 8. For one evening, six area bands come together for a night of music as well as to raise money and draw attention to a worthy pair of local organizations.
Known as the "Rockin' Docs" Battle of the Bands in previous years, the contest has evolved into its current form as Tulsa Area United Way (TAUW) teams up with Tulsa Young Professionals (TYPros) to give the event a new look and feel. Now known as "Rock the 918", the evening will feature six Green Country bands of varying styles, facing off in a battle of the bands to take home both bragging rights and this year's trophy.
In the process, funds will be raised not only for TAUW, but also for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Oklahoma, a program for which United Way already has a healthy working relationship. Proceeds will be raised from ticket sales as well as event shirt sales and voting in the People's Choice Award, which has become an annual tradition. Audience members will be able to "purchase votes" at the show in order to cast their ballot for their favorite band.
Even if you aren't able to attend, you can still affect the outcome by voting online at www.tauw.org and following the links to the "Rock the 918" event. Online votes can be purchased for $2 each. Yes, stuffing the ballot box is not only allowed, but encouraged.
As opposed to using only bands that included local area doctors (thus Rockin' Docs), this year's battle is looking to involve a larger segment of the community and matching up a diverse group of area bands for the showdown on the ballroom stage. The combination of BleedCircuit, A.M. 60, Eric and the Adams, Paul Benjaman Band and Black Water & the Sons of the Gatekeeper will certainly cook up an eclectic musical stew, providing a little something for everyone and making the evening more than a one tick pony show.
Granted, most of UTW readers are already familiar with Eric and the Adams as Eric Himan took home two trophies at this year's Absolute Best of Tulsa Music Awards show in addition to being nominated for four more awards with his band, the Adams. Together, Eric and the Adams mixes in a few pop covers with Himan's original tunes, which take on a new energy when in a band format, making him a local favorite. Even so, don't expect them to run away with the show.
BleedCircuit was featured on the recent Homegroan compilation put together by Z104.5, The Edge, and although the single "She Devil" is catchy, it doesn't do the band justice. As "Step Back" demonstrates, the group has a powerful grasp of the modern rock genre, from the heavy hitting riffs to power ballad hooks.
Just as impressive is Paul Benjaman Band, a group that defies categorization. The group has become a staple on the local music scene as with its loose, relaxing grooves and ability to intermingle touches of jazz, classic rock, country, blues, reggae and the classic "Tulsa Sound."
While each of the aforementioned bands has ties to TYPros, an additional three acts keep the event tied to the original "Rockin' Docs" format, with local area physicians included in their membership. Perhaps the most recognizable sound is The Persuaders, which is returning for another round in this year's event. Catering to the classic rock audience, the band has proven to be a crowd favorite at previous events and will surely take a few younger audience members by pleasant surprise.
Black Water and the Sons of the Gatekeeper prove to be the real wildcard of the crowd, incorporating a little Red Dirt into its country and bluegrass delivery. Gritty, emotionally raw, and unapologetic in its delivery, the group brings a modern urgency to a more traditional genre. This is what Americana is supposed to be about, drawing from across the spectrum of genres and emotions.
Finally, the evening's lineup is rounded out with A.M. 60, a relatively unknown rock act that looks to win over a new audience into its fan base.
The evening should prove to be both enlightening and fun.
If you're looking for a peek at a few of the most promising and exciting emerging acts, it would do you well to check this one out. Not only will you get a full evening of music, you'll also be supporting a good cause as TAUW and Big Brothers and Big Sisters team up to help our community grow by fostering one-to-one mentoring relationships and developing character in local area youth. Tickets are available in advance for $8 at Ida Red, Dwelling Spaces and online at www.tauw.org or can be purchased at the door for only $10.
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