March Madness Battle of the Bands 

March Madness: Why fight when you can pick, strum, and holler?

While many are chipping into office pools and getting excited about the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament this week, there's another kind of "March Madness" ascending over the local music scene.

Every spring several band competitions seem to pop up in certain venues. In 2006, longtime booking agent, soundman, and local musician Stuart "All Night" Johnson (of local band Allnightkungfu) arranged a month's worth of "March Madness Battle of the Bands" rounds at A Dough Re Mi. Co-sponsored by Budweiser, the rounds went well, with a wild variety of mostly metal, punk, and indie-rock acts belting it out in front of staffers and guests who judged their "stage presence, musicianship, audience reaction, and professionalism."

Johnson organized the lineup of the second contest at the Village Tavern in 2007. Cash prizes, studio time, gift certificates, and club bookings were awarded to the finalists in mid-April.

Johnson announced the third annual March Madness Battle of the Bands dates a few weeks ago and kicked it off last weekend. Judged by local characters, the locally-based, four-round series takes place on the Village Tavern stage for three straight weekends in March.

So far, the battles have included 16 bands and four preliminary rounds with the finals at the end of the month. The top prize is $500 in cash, with more prizes to be announced. Last year's winner, Blindsyght, will help with the judging.

"Unlike some local band battles, this is an open competition for original artists only ... and it is completely run by musicians," says Johnson.

Congrats to Tommy Thunderfoot & The Accelerators. They narrowly edged out Skye Paige & The Original Recipe on Fri. March 14. And there's plenty more to come.

The March Madness Battle of the Bands presents its final round on Sat. March 29 at 9 p.m. at the Village Tavern at 1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. Cover is $5. See for more.



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