Growing tired of hearing the same songs on repeat? Crystal Bees at 240 Spring St. in Southington invites music lovers to spend time experiencing 14 up-and-coming bands during a month-long battle of the bands competition.
“Every one of these bands are good,” said Eric Smith, event coordinator. “They are professional, and they’re stage-tested. So you’re going to get a variety of top Connecticut musicians.”
The popular music and entertainment venue hosted a similar competition last year in conjunction with Radio 104.1, an alternative rock station out of Waterbury. Each Sunday evening, the station dedicates time during their show, “Homebrew,” which showcases local bands. That’s where the the competition blossomed.
This year, however, the radio station will not be involved in the event, which allowed Smith to make some adjustments. Where Radio 104.1 asked that entrants be bands playing original music, Smith and Crystal Bees are welcoming a mix of original bands, tribute bands, and cover bands.
Smith described one band in the lineup, Sugar Daddy, as an 80s and 90s dance rock band based out of Southington; another group, Dumb Love, is a tribute to the Stone Temple Pilots. Another group, Down the Hatch, is a “four piece party band” out of Meriden that plays music similar to Prince.
Smith described the variety of band sizes, mentioning the power trio Rock Solid Alibi, and the jam band, Moon Matrix, featuring seven members.
“It’s really a potpourri of all different genres,” said Smith.
Each Thursday in February, attendees will have the opportunity to listen to and get to know four or five bands before the judges—a mix of musicians, rock critics or columnists, and people in the music industry—choose the best band from each preliminary round. The winners from each of the three preliminary competitions will advance to the final round, to be held on, Thursday, Feb. 27, when the grand prize winner will be selected.
Preliminary round two will include the bands Bad Bad Stereo, Dumb Love, Hard Luxury, Retrofit, and Rock Solid Alibi, and will begin at 7 p.m., on Thursday, Feb. 13.
Preliminary round three will include the bands Bedrock, Collective Difference, Death Saddle Syndicate, and Diminishing Jim, and will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20.
The top scoring band from each preliminary round will compete in the championship round, held at 7 p.m., on Thursday, Feb. 27. The winner will walk away with $1,000 cash, and the chance to be interviewed live on The Hot Spot with Darcy, a radio show on WAPJ (89.9 FM) based out of Torrington.
Last year the winning band was Remember September, made up of brothers Jay, Chris, and Eric Schod on vocals, guitar, and bass respectively, percussionist Sam Mendez, and drummer Gerard Awad.
Remember September has been playing together for about 12 years. Lead guitartist, Chris Schod, said the group all grew up listening to Radio 104.1, and ended up entering the competition through their drummer.
“We kind of went in having no idea what to expect at all,” said Schod, “which maybe was better because we weren’t stressed out about it too much.”
And while Remember September had a fruitful career before entering the competition, Schod said he understands how a competition such as this one could be beneficial for an up-and-coming band.
“I would say just be yourselves, don’t go away from your style music, and just kind of be relaxed,” said Schod. “You want to be believable and convincing that the music you’re playing is important to you, and that usually gets contagious in the crowd.”
Remember September’s third CD, “Full Circle,” is out now and is available on several streaming services. The group’s upcoming performances can be found through their website, www.rememberseptemberband.com.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at Entertainment@PlainvilleObserver.com.