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click to enlarge Golden Palace: Their annual specialty is battling other local bands!
  • Golden Palace: Their annual specialty is battling other local bands!

Hey, whaddaya know? It's time for another College of Charleston-sponsored "battle of the bands" event — and this time it goes down at the Music Farm. The fourth annual "Charleston Battle of the Bands Competition" — sponsored by the College of Charleston's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) — features five local finalists, each chosen from a tall stack of collected entries.

The College's PRSSA chapter, one of just two in S.C., recently won the national Chapter Development Award for innovative and impacting programming initiatives. The CofC chapter is under the umbrella of the College's Dept. of Communication, which sponsors many outreach and educational activities for its 800-plus majors, and maintains a strong community focus. All proceeds from this week's event will benefit the PRSSA chapter.

The Tyler Pull Dolls, ACE & O.C., Golden Palace, Stellar Door, and Fireworks Show each have an allotment of 25 minutes or so in which to play on the Music Farm stage, rally their fans, and dazzle the panel of "celebrity judges," including myself, 98X DJ Amy Hutto (host of weekly local music show "Local X"), local musician Hank Futch (best known for his work as bassist for longtime local favorite The Blue Dogs), and a few last-minute additions. 98X afternoon disc jockey Potter is set to emcee the proceedings.

Last year's raucous "Charleston Battle of the Bands" took place at Cumberland's. It was a surprisingly well-organized event in a packed house. Three local rock bands and two hip hop acts played their set allotments right on time.

Last year's show featured alt-rock quartet Golden Palace, power-pop trio Part-Time Heroes, hip-hop act Track Addicts (featuring rapper J.C. Carling), Americana rockers Grayman (led by a top-hatted Stan Gray), and local hip-hop trio Street Family, featuring rappers Johnny Street, Eric Friday, and Josh Murdock.

I watched from the conspicuous "judge's table" situated in the middle of the room alongside local musician Evan Bivins, Charleston booking agent Bubba Taylor (Fat Cat Productions), band manager and A&R man Jerrod Wilkins (Big Top Management), and TV lawyer "Extreme" Akim Anastopoulo (of TV's "Eye for an Eye"). Bivins, Wilkins, and I debated and deliberated, and drank bottled beer throughout the battle. Taylor sat stoically keeping an eye on the stage while Anastopoulo mostly hobnobbed with fans, smiled at passersby, and signed autographs.

We worked from the CofC's scoring system, in which each band could be rewarded points for "stage presence," "vocal strength," "instrumental skill," "crowd interaction," and "originality." Fortunately, all us were on the same page with consistent scoring patterns. When the dust settled, Street Family came out on top (but where are they now?!).

I'm making my second appearance as a "judge" at the CofC battle. I'm quite looking forward to it. It's an honor and a privilege ... and I've been practicing. This week's event at the Music Farm falls right between Round Three and Four of the four-round, month-long "March Madness Battle of the Bands" happening over at A Dough Re Mi in Mt. Pleasant. A variety of judges (staffers and local scenesters) have scored the bands in a similar manner. The winner of this week's final round on Fri. March 24 — featuring Catala, Tripping Mechanism, and Virgil Kane — will face the other top vote-getters from the series (L. Brown Odyssey, Hot Charlie, and Dewey Muggles) at a grand finale set for Sat. April 8. (check www.adoughremi.com).

The Charleston Battle of the Bands takes place on Thurs. March 23 at the Music Farm at 32 Ann Street. Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door, and are available at www.cofc.edu/communication, at 52.5 Records, or at the CofC's Dept. of Communication office at 5 College Way. Call 853-3276 or check www.musicfarm.com for more.

Contact music editor T. Ballard Lesemann at ballard@charlestoncitypaper.com


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