TAKIN’ IT TO THE WEB: By the time this here column makes it’s way out of my word processor, through the printer, and into your little hands, the fine folks behind this year’s Independent Road to West Beach competition will have collected, compiled, and officially launched 2008’s online Indy Band Guide (independent.com/bands). And with said launch comes a big deal contest the likes of which our Web site has yet to see (or host). Starting today, independent.com will be the arena that holds a knock-down-drag-out virtual fight to the death, as bands, singers, deejays, and rappers from throughout the tri counties vie for a coveted spot at this year’s West Beach Music Festival (westbeachfestival.com).
Starting in June, we opened up our arms and inboxes to any and all music makers living somewhere between Ventura’s southern border and San Luis Obispo’s northern county lines. What we got was a delightfully healthy response from nearly 200 different musical acts, all of which wanted to take part in the Indy‘s now annual project. Armed with all the info we could keep track of, our staffers created individual profiles for each submitter complete with bio, pic, and MP3. It’s like our own little MySpace Music site, minus the tricked out scroll bars and photo slide shows that cause my computer to go into fits. Now that all is said and done, it’s time to sit back and watch the fun begin.
From today until Tuesday, August 12, friends, family, fans, and fellow readers are encouraged to take to the Web, see what we’ve done, and cast their vote for who they think is the most musically talented individual or outfit on the Central Coast. Voters will get to choose their favorites from each of the four “regions” we’ve mapped out (Carpinteria/Ventura, Santa Barbara, Goleta/Isla Vista, and Santa Ynez/SLO), and the top four online vote-getters (plus one “wild card” chosen by us) from each area will move on to Round 2. These lucky 20 will then get the chance to gather their minions and hit the stage at one of the four regional concert dates that we’ve set aside. On Saturday, August 23, Stateside (1114 State St.) will host Santa Barbara’s onstage battle (with Carp/Ventura, I.V./Goleta, and San Luis showdowns to take place on Saturday, August 23; Sunday, August 24; and Thursday, August 21, respectively). Winners will be determined by audience vote, meaning that these shows are going to be packed to the gills with fans wanting to show their support.
After the battles, one finalist from each locale will head up (or down) to S.B. for a day-long concert in Alameda Park, where the winners will play for one last time-and the audience will choose who gets to be added to the mega Saturday lineup at the West Beach Fest. Our grand prize winner will share a stage with the likes of Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Natasha Bedingfield, and Ziggy Marley-and the only way they can get there is with your help. So be there from the beginning and make your vote count. We guarantee this is one fight that will not be won easily.
ISLAND STYLE: And if all this talk of feuding fans and battling bands has got you feeling a little stressed out, I highly advise a trip down to Chase Palm Park (E. Cabrillo Blvd.) tonight (Thu., Aug. 7) for an evening of calming island rhythms and soothing coastal air, courtesy of Manoa Valley transplant Leokane Pryor. The current Santa Barbara resident will bring his “Voice of the Heavens” to the masses as part of the weekly Concerts in the Park Series that takes place throughout the summer. Together with his backing band and a troupe of hula dancers, Pryor will share a set of authentic Hawaiian music that truly could not be enjoyed in a better location. The luau starts at 6 p.m. and is free for all ages. Call 897-1982 for more info.