Do you enjoy music, or better yet, do you play music? If so, you could be one of 20 or so lucky bands from around the region chosen to compete in this year’s Battle of the Bands at Gilroy's 9Lives.
9Lives, Guitar Center and Tool Shed Studio have partnered to present the four-month event that begins on January 26 and concludes in April.
The winner of the multi-week elimination competition receives $500 cash, recording time at Tool Shed Studio, musical gear and other goodies like gift certificates. Best of all, bands don’t need to pay a dime thanks to 9Lives co-owner Jorge Briones’ philosophy against pay-to-play performances.
“We refuse to have a band come in and give us a dime to play at our place,” Briones said. “9Lives doesn't believe in charging bands to perform—never have, never will.”
, may not require a monetary payment from performers, but they do charge a price in raw talent.
“At 9Lives we like to hold a really high criteria for quality for as far as who’s performing,” Briones said. “[Battle of the Bands] becomes a popularity contest often, meaning who can bring the most people to make the most noise for them, but we’re into who can bring in the most talent in the region.”
There’s also a requirement that all bands play instruments live on stage, which often disqualifies hip hop, rap and DJ artists who perform to playback tracks.
To ensure that the winner is the best of the best, the pair brings in industry professionals as judges. Bands are judged on criteria incorporating everything from a band’s on-stage performance to their music and songwriting ability, with the latter consuming 40 percent of the judging.
“We bring in touring and past musicians who were signed to recording contracts, who have performed in major concerts across the world and producers,” Briones said.
Bands that don’t make it to the final round still benefit, as competing bands are often invited back to play at the venue, Briones said.
The entry period will close once all available spots are filled, and all bands must be pre-registered to compete. Bands who are up for some fierce competition can enter by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional details provided by 9Lives are below:
- Week One, Metal, Jan. 26
- Week Two, Feb. 2
- Week Three, Feb. 9
- Week Four, Rock/Alternative, Feb. 16
- Week Five, Feb. 23
- Week Six, March 1
- Semi-finals, March 23 and March 30
- Finals, April 21
How it Works
Each week up to four bands will compete for a spot in the semi-finals. Each first-round band will perform a 25-minute set with the performance order selected by a blind draw the night of the show. Each week one band will be selected to continue to the semi-finals with the winning band announced on the 9Lives homepage the day after their first-round performance.
Each of the six first-round winners will return to perform in the two semi-final rounds where each night three bands will perform a 45-minute set. Two bands will be named to perform in the finals along with one wild card semi-finalist. The final round will be held on Saturday, April 21st.
Bands will be judged by a panel of industry professionals on the following criteria:
- Marketing/Promotional effort
- Stage Presence
- Overall Professionalism
- Crowd Response