Battle of the Bands


Gold Member
I just got paid a nice complement. The leader and rhythm guitar player of a new bluegrass group he was trying to form on the side asked me to join his established rock band. They play some covers (Drive By Truckers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Hank Williams III, some classic rock) as well as some originals. The bluegrass band has fizzled for the time being, but his rock band apparenty is doing ok but has gone through 3 drummers because 1 couldn't commit and the other 2 were hard core alcoholics who couldn't perform - even in practice. To make a long story short, he's signed up the band for a Battle of the Bands contest at Spencers in Fort Worth, Texas three weeks from now. I have to get up to speed on about 10 songs for this contest if we needed them, but I'm not worried.

My question is this: how do these Battle of the Bands things go? I've never played at one before, or even attended one for that matter. Shall I pack my own drums or is a set provided? Is there enough time to get set up, etc? I don't know what to expect. They all are probably different, but any general ideas or suggestions? Thanks!


I played in only one battle of the bands and it was a nightmare. I trusted the house kit they had without ever seeing it. Big mistake!!! It was damaged in every way. Weak bass pedal, hi-hat without a clutch, dented heads. I wass sssooooo mad and embarassed that I made our lead singer make an announcement about how bad the kit was and how I was struggling to play it. We were told there was no time to bring a kit and set up. then a band showed up who played last and the drummer had a huge kit with a rack and like 30 cymbals..oh yeah, they brought their own crowd too. It was so one sided and such a bad time I still think about it. I'm not mad about the outcome, just that I was stupid enough not to bring at least a small kit. Make sure you have fun and all that stuff! Let us know how it goes.


Gold Member
They are all totally different. The best thing you can do is just talk to the promoter or whoever is running the show. And then, even when you talk to them, odds are you still won't know what to expect, because it changes frequently. I only ever played a few BotBs, because I think they suck (mostly a popularity contest, not about musicality...but what a cool opportunity this is for you!), but it was always different. One time, I got in touch with the promoter, was told everyone would use thier own kits, etc. Showed up early (along with all the drummers), set up my monster kit (back then it was a huge kit, like 14 pieces with a ton of cymbals, percussion, etc) took two hours to set up. The sound guys showed up with a 4-piece house kit (Pulse Percussion) that was falling apart, mic'd it up, and wouldn't even let us bring out extra percussion or anything. We had to change our setlist because of that, as well as having wasted a ton of time breaking down my kit, setting it up there, breaking it down, and setting it up at home, all without playing it.

I don't think I ever actually played a BotB without SOME it a house kit where people broke heads and they didn't have extras, whatever. Don't get me wrong, if you don't let that stuff upset you, they can still be a ton of fun...I try to never let stuff like that get me down. Honestly, if you just roll with the punches, it will be fun!


Senior Member
My experience from the day was,
"the band that had the loudest fans/crowd won.."
didn't matter if they were better musicians as long as
they had big fan support or the biggest screamers...LOL


Silver Member
Memories!! I've been in one Battle of the Bands (we actually won it) against 7 other bands. It went ok because we did get to use our own kits (we had a 30 minute set up time). We were the last band to play so I had all of my stuff as put together as I could get it before we went on. Sound guy was cool about taking time to get a good drum sound (for all of the drummers there).

This was back in 1994, and it seem like 5 of the 7 bands played Far Behind by Candlebox. Each band played 3 songs. We played:

Any Way You Want by Journey
Spirit of Radio by Rush
Freewill by Rush

Yes, we were a Rush/Journey tribute band and the crowd ate it up. Our lead singer had the pipes to get up there too.

All in all it was pretty fun!
We played the songs way too fast. I messed up a couple of times, but since it was 1 a.m. and our bass player had been buying the judges beer all night long might have swung things in our favor.

That was the first gig that my new DW's did and 15 years later I still love them!
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I am actually organizing one at the moment. What I am going to do is get a decent kit, with enough stands and hardware for a backline and then let the guys bring their own snares, pedals and cymbals. Saves time. So yeah, just hear from the organizer whats the deal and try your best to make the best out of the situation


Gold Member
Thanks for the advice everyone. I emailed the club and asked specifically if they will provide a house kit and/or what to bring, and the time allowed for bands to set up. I need to go by there and have a beer and scope things out, like how big the stage is, just to get a feel for what we're up against logistics-wise.

They have bikini contests there and wet t-shirt contests faily regularly and from the pics on the web it looks like a good facility. I'll post what I find. Thanks for the advice!


Gold Member
Lol. Ya. Some interesting bikini's there from what I see from the pics that are posted.

The club emailed me back and said starting June 30 and going through July the contest well be held on Tuesdays starting at 9 p.m. All bands need to be there by 8 p.m. to draw playing order from a hat. Each band is expected to play 1/2 hour of material and there will be 15 minutes in between sets to allow the bands to exit the stage and for new bands to set up. No equipment is provided except the PA system; everyone needs to bring their own instruments, including drums. All genres are welcomed except Metal.

Judging from what the club is saying, is there any other advice or things I may need to know or be aware of? Our band will probably play mid-July. Thanks!