This last Sunday, I traveled with a couple of friends to downtown Minneapolis. My friends had invited me to come along to a show their band would be performing at the Pourhouse, a bar downtown.
My friends were given very short notice about being on the bill at this show, and did not find out until a week or so before the gig that the show was a Battle of the Bands event.
Battle of the Bands events are meant to be promoted by the bands performing and competing so that more fans show up, more money is made by the bar and more publicity can be made for the venue.
Bands are meant to sell the tickets to the event to their family and friends, along with anyone who even knows the basic concept of live music.
One can imagine that of the 10 bands that performed that evening, the three that performed last had an advantage over the seven preceding bands.
The first advantage was that the set times were later in the evening, meaning people were off work and able to buy tickets. This creates a larger audience of regular bar goers. Another factor was that bands that had performed earlier in the day had left with anyone and everyone who even counted themselves as part of their entourage.
Secondly, the contest was not judged by a panel like some people may think. The competition was judged immediately after the final band performed by level of applause after each band’s name was stated. Of course people were going to cheer loudest for the cover band that played only songs the whole crowd would know, and not the band that played all original music.
So, the final three bands that played the show made it to the final round of the Battle of the Bands competition to be hosted at a later date.
Leaving the venue, my friends and I were kind of glad we had the boring, unfair experience that we did at the Pourhouse.
Seeing as the winning bands were cover bands that couldn’t even get lyrics or melody correct, we were glad that we didn’t win and couldn’t wait to tell everyone we knew in the local metal scene to stay away from anything calling itself a Battle of the Bands event. Our advice? Just to go to an actual show where bands can accurately showcase their talent without being disrespected by mediocre cover bands.