Musical "competitions"

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The backstory:

Last April, (2012) I joined a 6 piece original Blues band. (Called The Porkroll Project) Guitar, bass, drums, harp, a B3 player and a piano player. Everybody in the band sings too. How I met them, the band I was in at the time did a co-bill with them, and during that show, I found out that their drummer was leaving the band due to health issues. (arthritis).

They went first, I was in Blue Bizness at the time, but really, we should have opened up for them. They put on a really great entertaining show, the music was superbly played, they are mostly original with a few reworks of existing songs. I really liked their original songs, and they delivered them in a fun way, with a high level of musicianship and humor. So that band was a home run in my book. I really didn't want to follow them with the lesser Blue Bizness.

Luckily, the bass player from Blue Bizness was late for sound check, so we used Porkroll's bass player for sound check. Little did I know that they were informally evaluating me as to how I work with their bass player. When I found out that it was their drummers last gig, I told them I wanted to throw my hat in their particular ring to be considered for the spot.

Long story short, I did a real audition with them at a later date and was offered the spot. Another rehearsal later, and I did a full night with them, trial by fire, but it was a piece of cake. Their music was right up my alley.

Now this band isn't your typical bar band. They are well monied, well equipped, well connected and they go for the good gigs, festivals and higher echelon gigs than bar gigs, although we do play a few bar gigs.

Anyway, this past Sunday, we entered and played in a local Blues Society competition. The winner gets to go down to Memphis in 2014 and compete in the International Blues Challenge, where winners from local Blues Societies from all around the country converge in Memphis to battle it out.

We won! Woo hoo! I'm going to Memphis early next year to compete in the IBC! I'll be there about a week! Kinda psyched about that. We get to open a festival with national acts this June for winning, before we even go to Memphis. If we win in Memphis, we get to open a whole lot more festivals, recording time, cash and gear.

I never had a gig of this level before, and I was looking for others experience in the competition realm. Would love to hear others experiences on the competition level. Can you indulge me with your stories?
 

mikel

Platinum Member
That's great news, well done you. Blues seems to be on an up at the moment. It was obviously Karma that you played that gig with your old band.
Just as an aside; there is a Blues band in France called Awek, and I was lucky enough to catch one of there gigs last year. I believe they have played in Memphis, through a French Blues Society, and it was the making of them.
Good luck, give it your best shot.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
I've no experience with this kind of thing myself Larry, just wanted to offer up a "congratulations" to you. Sounds like a lot of fun!
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
awsome, before your story ended i thought you were going to say you lost. thats great!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Just as an aside; there is a Blues band in France called Awek, and I was lucky enough to catch one of there gigs last year. I believe they have played in Memphis, through a French Blues Society, and it was the making of them.
Good luck, give it your best shot.
So it really is an international thing. Huh. Even better. I'm very excited. As a side note, the old drummer from Porkroll is the new drummer for Blue Bizness. We basically switched spots, because I quit Blue Bizness. That band was going backwards not forward in my mind. I though the old drummer had quit music because of arthritis. Porkroll is more high energy, but Blue Bizness music would still aggravate arthritis, so I don't understand why he left.

It's funny the way things work out. Porkroll was in a bind, they didn't have any particular drummer in mind that they coveted, then the co bill happened, and I basically slid into their band seamlessly, with no effort on their part. What a great bunch of guys. They have the most awesome practice space, a isolated converted 3 car garage on a spacious property w/ a pool table, stage lights, popcorn maker, PA, monitors, all the amps, Organs, piano, recording equipment, commercial beverage cooler fully stocked at all times, really cool musical decorations lightbulbs that look like vacuum tubes from amps, Zildjain bar stools, Chess records clocks, neon lights, great old Blues photos abound, a great food spread just for rehearsals, humor, great music, no egos...A dream come true for me basically.
 

Fuo

Platinum Member
Grats... On the competition and your overall happiness with the new band. Sounds like a good time.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
So that means you'll be spending another year practicing at 40BPM to really make sure of the tempo, right?
For sure. I do love 40 BPM. Lately I've been trying 48 BPM. I have to eventually use the other settings on the met, but I do love 40. I need a met that goes to 10 BPM for some really intensive practice. I want 6 seconds between hits. My son is making me a cd that has 45 minutes of 10, 20 and 30 BPM, so I will use that.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Long story short, I did a real audition with them at a later date and was offered the spot. Another rehearsal later, and I did a full night with them, trial by fire, but it was a piece of cake. Their music was right up my alley...
Auditioning for a band which plays the kind of music you love and feel at ease with is half the battle, you still have to lay it all down of course, but the natural way, like a fish in water.

Congratulations Larry, I've never been in a competition and probably never will, so no good stories to tell on that topic :)
 

larryz

Platinum Member
Congrats Larry. Nice people can finish first. Not sure but I think that's the same competition a local band around here has won before. Have you heard of Jill West & The Blues Bombers? Their lead guitarist is Stevie Ray Vaughn reincarnated I think... Best of continued success.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Good stuff, Larry. The only competition advice I can give is to make sure the judges are present when you start playing. An old band played in one of those Battle of the Bands comps and we were first on. We came out and played a killer version of our first song.

Then we were told the judges hadn't arrived and could we play it again. Second version was okay, but lacked the same spark, as you'd expect.

Interesting. First there's talk of hip hop glitch beats to make things feel less mechanical, now blues becoming more popular. Watch this space.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
That's awesome Larry! Good luck when you guys get down to Memphis! I have no advice to give but that sounds exciting!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I have no advice either Larry, other than to relax into the occasion & soak up the happy vibe as much as possible. Being overwhelmed isn't a good thing for playing 40bpm ;) Anyhow, by then, you'll have the blues kit to end all blues kits. That should put a smile on your face, & knock 'em dead for sure :)

It's so good to hear that you're comfortable in your new band too.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Anyhow, by then, you'll have the blues kit to end all blues kits. That should put a smile on your face, & knock 'em dead for sure :)

It's so good to hear that you're comfortable in your new band too.
So Guru is going to make a kit with a pearl wrap? Nice ;)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Not sure if I'm allowed to use my own drums down there. If I am allowed, perhaps I'll use the Guru's. With the logo head lol. I was planning on keeping them home, but an opportunity like this doesn't come around all that often.

If I have a set of Guru's, even if I don't have a formal endorsement deal, I can still say I endorse them, right? Because I do. Well I think I do...I still haven't actually played a set ;)
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
If I have a set of Guru's, even if I don't have a formal endorsement deal, I can still say I endorse them, right? Because I do. Well I think I do...I still haven't actually played a set ;)
Exactly Larry, you may yet be boxing them up & throwing them back at us :(

So Guru is going to make a kit with a pearl wrap? Nice ;)
Take a wild guess ;)
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Exactly Larry, you may yet be boxing them up & throwing them back at us :(
That would be incredibly strange - instruments with that kind of expertise, love and care are not ones that get thrown back. Quality is never going to be an issue. The only risk you guys have is sustaining the passion in a way that pays the bills.
 
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