Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
May 24th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Rock the Vote

music_BattleOfBandsLocal musicians vie for the 3rd annual Teen Battle of the Bands title
When teen librarian Matt Lorenzo realized in 2009 that many of his friends at the Branciforte Library played music together, he decided they needed a place to showcase their talent. After asking the library for sponsorship, Lorenzo created a Myspace page to generate interest, asked local businesses to donate recording time and music equipment for prizes, then found merchants to donate to a raffle—soon, the Santa Cruz Public Library Teen Battle of the Bands was born.

Flash forward two years and the battle is still going strong, with attendance skyrocketing from 300 spectators during its pilot year, to 700 in 2010. This year’s battle goes down on July 23, at the City of Santa Cruz parking lot, next to the Central Library, and will be judged by local musicians, Stormy Strong and Alan Heit of the White Album Ensemble, plus Spilly Chili from Community TV.

Saturday’s competitors—ages 12-21—include battle veterans reggae-blues sextet Funky Dosage, pop-punk outfit Blue Weekend and upbeat rockers Almost Chaos, plus new additions to the contest: jazz-funk band Grae's Academy, rock ’n’ roll outfit Lifewire, and pop-rockers Urban Theory.

Since winning last year’s competition, Funky Dosage has taken its groovy licks and rhythm section from Kuumbwa Jazz to the Monterey Jazz Festival—sharing the stage with some of the most influential musicians in the genre. “It was fun performing for our friends,” says lead guitarist, Nick Wallace, of last year’s battle. “We had no idea after we played that we were going to win—it was cool to see that people really liked us.”

But the hard work doesn’t stop there. Wallace, a Cabrillo College music major, praises Funky Dosage’s youngest member, 13-year-old Cameron Smith, for his consistent devotion to the craft: “[He’s] worked really hard to get where he is. He plays guitar every day for hours and hours.”

Also committed to fine-tuning their music are the members of Blue Weekend, who recently opened for local psychobillies Stellar Corpses at The Catalyst. Unwavering in their efforts to revive chugging palm mutes and guitar anthems, the band’s song, “Leaving to Please,” encapsulates their mission: “At least I have control ... I will not forget my headstrong style.” With plans for a Bay Area/Sacramento tour, it seems their dream of restoring the glory of pop-punk is well under way.

The youngest band participating this weekend—barely surpassing the minimum age requirement—may be the most dedicated group around. Nationally recognized by School Jam USA as one of the “top 10 teen bands” in the country, Almost Chaos played more than 100 gigs last year, are about to release their second album, and have raised more than $40,000 for local schools and charities.

While each band works on projects of its own, one uniting factor bonds them all: most contestants have attended Kummbwa Jazz Camp to study music theory. Blue Weekend's lead guitarist Austin Corona explains why: “I like to widen my variety of playing. I go to figure out all the jazz chords and different ways to solo. I like to switch it up, bring one genre of music to another.”

Like Corona's cross-genre playing, this community of musicians is comfortable sharing members. Wallace's brother Ty, for instance, plays drums for Funky Dosage and Blue Weekend. Young Smith plays guitar with Almost Chaos. And finally, Almost Chaos' Jose Picazo used to play bass with Blue Weekend. “Everything just kind of circulates in the music scene,” says Rory Freeman, vocalist/guitarist of Blue Weekend.

Asked how Blue Weekend believes it will fair Saturday, Freeman says, “We’re gonna be practicing, but I feel really confident about it.” Win or lose, just like founder Matt Lorenzo, these kids don't see music as work. “I'm lucky to be doing what I love,” says Wallace. To them, this competition is an outlet for honing their musical aspirations: “We thank the library a lot for hosting this show because we love playing it every year,” says Corona. “They should keep doing it every year."

With three new groups competing, and great prizes—including recording and rehearsal time, plus music supplies—to boot, this year’s battle is one worth cheering for.


The Teen Battle of the Bands takes place from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at the parking lot next to the Central Library, 224 Church Street, Santa Cruz. No Cover.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival