The revered battle of the bands… an event considered by musicians and music fans as the only acceptable instance for bands to be directly competitive. Most people envision a ‘battle of the bands’ like the one depicted near the end of School of Rock– a packed mid-level venue with performers contentiously battling it out to woo judges for a prize usually consisting of a large sum of cash and equally as important bragging rights. Are you feeling Jack Black’s unbridled anger towards his old band No Vacancy for taking home the $20,000 cash prize?
Despite these preconceived notions of a ‘battle of the bands,’ the tone for the KWNK Sound Off! Battle of the Bands at the Holland Project was in fact the contrary. Perhaps the main reason for this could be the purpose of the battle: the event served as a fundraiser for 97.7 KWNK, a community-based radio station collaboration between the Holland Project, the Reno Bike Project, and Wolf Pack Radio. The top prize for the winning performer was a recording session generously donated by the Sound Saloon in downtown Reno. All proceeds from the event went to KWNK, with attendees receiving a KWNK button used to vote for a performer of their choice.
Throughout the evening, an overwhelming sense of community could be felt in and outside the venue. With over 200 people in attendance, top-notch vegan cuisine provided by Nom Eats and Reno favorites Lil Traffic and Icy Dave on MC duties, the inaugural Sound Off! event was considered a smashing success.
The event featured seven local artists, with ages and genres among performers varying. One of the night’s most notable performances came from Boys, a band consisting of Bella and Lizzy from surf punk duo Snack. Bella’s ability to keep the crowd engaged without the constraint of a guitar worked to the band’s advantage- their lively performance earned them at least a few new fans that night.
The multitude of genres heard throughout the show ensured that there was something for everyone; Common Mishap’s emo-tinged alternative rock, Surly’s introspective punk, Pink Awful’s meticulously constructed shoegaze/noise rock- all topped off with Lil Traffic and Icy Dave performing a few tracks to close the night, including a new cut that had been released less than a week prior.
The standout performance of the night came from jazz/fusion group Long Story Short, the winners of the inaugural Sound Off. Long Story Short’s performance featured a vibrant horn section that commandeered the band’s vitality. Their tight knit sound incorporated motifs from rock, pop and soul- even some electronic influence was prevalent. Their unique amalgamation was enough to win a majority the crowd’s adoration, taking home the top prize of a recording session at the Sound Saloon.
The energy and optimism behind the idea of a community radio station overshadowed any feeling of contentiousness. Instead of any competition-induced animosity, there was mutual unwavering support between performers and attendees. Performers and attendees alike were enthused by the idea of bringing true community radio to Reno. If the Sound Off! Event was any indication of the support KWNK will be receiving from the community; we have a lot to look forward to.
You can find out more/donate to KWNK at kwnkradio.org.