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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Battle of the bands returns to Congress


    Courtesy of Tucson Battle of the Bands

    Battle of the Bands is back. After a brief three-year hiatus, Battle of the Bands is revamped and returning this Saturday at Hotel Congress. A venue open to all genres and musicians 21 and under, finalists for the event include The Looks, Weird Guilty Pleasures, Kyle Gallardo, Creating the Scene and Roman Barten-Sherman & the Interstellar Blues Orchestra.

    “This is something I grew up with in Tucson,” said Matt Paquet, events coordinator and booking agent at Hotel Congress. “They used to hold it at the [Rialto Theatre] and it was a big deal every year. I thought it was a really great thing and was sad to see it go in 2012, so I decided to bring it back this year. It was an integral part of my generation, and a lot of the guys I grew up with continue to write and produce music. I think a lot of that started with Battle of the Bands.”

    Nearly 15 young artists threw their hats into the ring, undergoing an application and elimination process before a panel of judges, and only five acts emerged. Ultimately, the five remaining bands will be evaluated on their recording sound, crowd response as well as overall judge opinion.

    A whole spectrum of genres will be represented at Battle of the Bands. Artists ranging from Kyle Gallardo, 19, who describes his work as traditionally darker, to Jake Walters, 17, lead vocalist and keyboardist for Creating the Scene, who describes the band’s work as indie pop rock.

    Gallardo attributes a lot of his musical inspiration to bands like Radiohead, and his lyrical inspiration to author Chuck Palahniuk. Dropping his first EP Uneventful on Jan. 31, Gallardo is new to the live performance aspect of his music.

    “My music is pretty minimalistic,” Gallardo said. “As far as the lyrics go, they’re based off a short story I wrote about a man waking up one day and realizing how unhappy and mad he is with his life. The man sees red; all he wants to do is murder his wife. Though he knows he shouldn’t, in the end it gets the better of him. My lyrics follow a plot, a storyline.”

    As for Walters and Creating the Scene, this does not mark their first performance. Relative veterans to the youth scene, Creating the Scene has played numerous venues, including the Rialto and Club Congress.

    “Our songs are about a lot things,” Walters said. “I’m kind of like the Taylor Swift of Creating the Scene. I write about breakups. We deal with a lot of teenage angst too, but mixed with actually relevant things. It’s music that you can cry to but also jam out to, too.”

    The top-three acts of the competition will receive recording sessions. Other prizes include private headlining showcase, a radio spot on KXCI, music gear and numerous gift cards. All five bands will walk away from the battle with something.

    “People should expect to walk away having their minds blown by these young kids that are playing music,” Baquet said. “They’re good. And that’s kind of what it’s all about, just bringing light to the young guys trying to make it happen in this scene.”

    Battle of the Bands opens at 3 p.m. at Hotel Congress, free to all ages. Following performances by the finalists, band Sun Bones will conclude the night with a show.

    “We’re excited,” Walters said. “Thanks to anyone who comes out and supports us Saturday.”


    Follow Elise McClain on Twitter.

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