Nine local bands will compete for recording time and cash prizes at The Wall’s first-ever All-Star Battle of the Bands event, held each evening from Jan. 21-24.
The Wall band coordinator Bailey Golding said this event is the first of its kind for several reasons. The Wall has been hosting Battle of the Bands competitions since its opening in 2013, but every previous event has included an application process for bands that wanted to participate. This “all-star” event, on the other hand, consists of a group of veteran Provo bands that The Wall hand-picked and invited to the event.
“I wanted to give these bands another chance to perform here and compete,” Golding said. “I was kind of basing it off of American Idol — their all-star season was my favorite.”
The bands planning to compete are 19 Miles Per Hour, Melancholy Club, Rally, 9th East Music, ZIRICOTE, The Wanna Go, Brother Gabriel, The HouseCats and Suit Up, Soldier. Most of these bands have performed at The Wall before, but some are making their BYU debuts.
The event’s main sponsors are Dee Kei Mixes and Jordan Turner, founder of Hard Jive in Orem.
“They’re giving every contestant two hours of recording time, which is like a free single, and they’re mixing it,” Golding said. “It’s really cool that they’re giving these Provo bands an opportunity to skyrocket.”
The exact amounts for the cash prizes are still undetermined and rely partly on ticket sales, Golding said.
Golding explained there will be different judges for the first three nights of competition, with a large panel of experts for Friday night’s performance when the winner will be chosen.
Among the judges is Paul Nahrwold, project manager for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nahrwold has overseen projects including General Conference, Music and the Spoken Word and Face-to-Face broadcasts.
Other judges include award-winning country singer Nathan Osmond, local venue owner Jack Lott and two label representatives. BYU’s own Rosalind Hall will round out the panel of judges. Hall has been the conductor of the BYU Men’s Chorus and Concert Choir for over twenty years.
“The sponsors are really looking for bands that have good sound and part of that is having good technique,” Golding said. “That’s why we’re enlisting the help of Sister Hall.”
Hall, a classically trained vocal and choral musician, expressed her amusement at being chosen as a judge.
“I think they’re crazy choosing me,” Hall said to the members of the concert choir on Thursday. “I’ll just choose whoever sings with the best vowels.”
The bands say they are looking forward to the event, both to perform and to gain exposure.
“We write music that we hope supports and makes a difference in people’s lives and helps connect with others to let them know they’re not alone,” said Danny Iacopucci, a BYU pre-business major from 19 Miles Per Hour. “We hope to touch some lives and have fun playing.”
Members of 9th East Music and other bands said they are particularly excited about the potential publicity and connections that could come from competing.
“We are looking to have a stellar time performing and jamming with y’all,” said Katy Martin of 9th East Music. “We’re trying to get our name out there in the Provo music scene and hopefully make some new memories and connections.”
Suit Up, Soldier is particularly accustomed to BYU — all five of its members are current students or alumni.
“We’ve performed at BYU more times than we can count,” singer and guitarist Wesley Monahan said. “We owe it to our time here for where we are today and the successes we’ve been blessed with.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased online for $5 through a link on The Wall’s Instagram page (@thewallbyu) or for $7 at the door.