The first round of cuts has been made for the Square Room's Sound Off competition, which starts next week and runs until March, when one local band or solo performer will be left holding a prize package that includes studio time, an EP release, and a spot on the Sundown in the City line-up next summer.
The contest's panel of judges—Rock Snob Recording honcho Eric Nowinski, WUTK's Benny Smith, AC Entertainment's Jeff Cuellar, Ben Bannister and Lisa Cyr of the Square Room, and Metro Pulse A&E Editor Matthew Everett—cut through 59 submissions to end up with 25 semifinalists who will compete monthly for the five available slots in the March finals.
The public part of the contest starts on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the Square Room. The first line-up will include blues rockers the Black Cadillacs; the Basement Lights, the new alt-pop group led by former Immortal Chorus frontman Steve Britton; the raw alt-country outfit the Butcher Brothers; smooth pop-rock group Kevin Hyfantis and the Bishops Band; and singer/songwriter Scott McMahan. Each will perform two original songs and a Beatles cover; they'll be judged on their performance and will also be awarded points based on crowd response. The winner will move on to the finals.
The remaining 20 semifinalists, in alphabetical order, are: Britta Adams; Aftah Party; Big Country's Empty Bottle; Cain and Annabelle; Michael Davis; the Dirty Johns; Joey English; Enigmatic Foe; Ga-Na-Si-Ta; Grandpa's Stash; the HiLites; Hudson K; Kamuy; Kelsey's Woods; Madre; Ol' Sweet Lou; Seeing Skies; the Songbirds; Sounds of Sirens; and Vinyl Thief.