Battle of the bands returns

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GBOB_challenge09_on_white.jpgNo, not that one. Not that one either. This one. Starting next month, the Global Battle of the Bands competition is holding heats in Shenzhen, Beijing, Hong Kong and in Shanghai on September 27th. There'll then be a China final in Hong Kong before the winners from China are flown to London for the big finale where they have the chance of winning $100,000 and "global promotion". This will be the competition's second year here.

If it passed you by last year, don't worry, you weren't the only one. The competition suffered from being held in The Melting Pot down on Taikang Lu and from being on a Sunday night. The bands who competed were Lan Cao, The Mushrooms, Momo, Dovetail Joints, Little Nature and Guitou Hunter. This being The Melting Pot, the crowd was largely indifferent and the eventual winners were Dovetail Joints, who just edged out The Mushrooms.

This year, though it's still on a Sunday, it'll be at Yuyintang, hopefully ensuring a crowd more interested in music than dice rattling. That, after all, is what the event is all about according to Chris B, National Director of GBOB China. Although she doesn't mention anyone by name, she is perhaps also mindful of some other recent band competitions when she says
"We're looking for real bands who play real music, not because they are good looking, can dance or can be a good TV star! Playing real music, whatever age, whatever genre. Also at the event, the audience votes count for 25%, so if a band is popular their fans can make a difference. All those working on GBOB China are musicians themselves, we know how hard it is to get our bands and our music recognition, this is a way of doing it."
Although Chris is based in Hong Kong, she says that she is keen to see what Shanghai has to offer again. "I love visiting the city," she says, "a lot of people presume that the live music scene in Shanghai is really rocking and I think it really is getting better and better in Shanghai and that's down to lots of passionate individuals and of course the bands themselves. I think this is a good opportunity for Shanghai bands to get more exposure and more chances to gig.  We know that those outside of China, are really really curious about what China is cooking musically speaking!"

Here, according to Chris, is how it works:

How the event works in Shanghai:
* Bands sign up online and choose the one day heat/final.
* Bands pay 50Rmb/member to enter.
* Bands play 2 songs (total 8 minutes) at the heat, audience votes count for 25%
* Winning Shanghai band will be flown (courtesy of GBOB China) to Hong Kong for China final on 7 November 2009.  Winning Shanghai band will also receive prizes.
* If the Shanghai band wins the China final, they will be flown to London, England (courtesy of GBOB UK) to take part in World Finals in mid-December 2009

Anyone looking for more information or to sign up can go here.

Full disclosure: I was a judge on last year's competition because I headed up the live music coverage at the late SH magazine. I no longer have any affiliations with the event and that was hardly an affiliation anyway. I was happy to take part and to drink a couple of beers that they gave me, but that was pretty much it really. Chris contacted me because she knows I still write about music here, I'm not promoting it or anything, just putting it out there.

No prizes for guessing who I voted for last year by the way either.

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