Cash and free studio time are the two main prizes for this year’s Bloomington Battle of the Bands. On Tuesday night, local bands will take to the stage at the Bluebird Nightclub to compete in the first round of the contest.
Four-member band Before the Streetlights will make its debut at the Bluebird for the contest. Two of the band’s members, IU senior Josh Courtney and junior Tyler Pritchett, said they were excited to perform at the venue.
“It will be the first time we’ve ever played on a stage like that around here,” Pritchett, who plays guitar, said. “It’s the battle of the bands, too, so there are a lot of bands to meet locally so we can get our foot in the door with other people. That’s fun, and connections are a big thing.”
Pritchett said the bands competing won’t know if they make it to the next round until December, because this is only round one of the competition. Bands will play in other rounds Tuesday nights throughout the remainder of the semester.
“We’re going to be a little bit anxious after we play, because we’re not even going to know after the show if we’ve moved on or not,” he said. “We’ll have to figure out after everyone else goes. We haven’t played that much in Bloomington, so we’re just excited to get our name out there.”
Courtney, who plays bass and sings, said the group will play a mix of songs from their EP, “Westward,” and new material. He said bands get about 20 minutes for their sets and all the music must be original.
He said crowd involvement is an important aspect of the battle of the bands, so the group will focus on playing songs that will get the audience’s attention.
“We’re probably just going to mostly play straight rock songs to get the crowd involved, so that’ll be fun,” he said. “I love just jamming really hard. It’s the best part.”
Pritchett said for the contest the band will play the new songs they are most comfortable with, because they haven’t had a lot of time to practice them in a live setting.
“The songs we play off of ‘Westward’ — we’ve been playing those songs for almost two years now, a year and a half. So we’ve played them so many times we’re accustomed to it,” he said. “That usually happens. If you play songs over and over again it just becomes like muscle memory almost.”
Pritchett said the band coincidentally played a show with another competing group, the New Vintage Rendition, on Oct. 4 at the Indiana Memorial Union. He said while his band has more of an alternative rock sound, the New Vintage Rendition has a more blues, Southern rock vibe.
“They sounded good,” he said. “The thing that we noticed was that they have a completely different sound than we do, so it’s going to be kind of hard to compete sound-wise whenever the bands sound completely different. So we’ll just have to play our best.”
Although the bands knew they would be competing with one another, Pritchett said the atmosphere was friendly.
“It wasn’t like some cheerleading competition,” he said. “Everyone is cool. Everyone is laid back about it, and hopefully whoever wins ends up being the best.”
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