Well, the opening night of our annual Downtown Sound battle of the bands is a wrap. The first of a two-night semi-finals battle (part two kicks off at SOhO tonight 8 p.m.), Tuesday’s showcase saw a truly eclectic mix of acts take to the stage at Velvet Jones. And while each of the four bands impressed, it was Santa Barbara psych rockers Blue Suns and lo-fi folkies Islay Street that inched out the competition for most audience votes.
Both bands will play a finals showcase (alongside tonight’s top two winners) at SOhO on Thursday, October 20 at 8:30 p.m. Up for grabs is a wealth of music-minded prizes, including a spot at this year’s New Noise Santa Barbara Music Festival, an on-air “Localize It” spotlight on 92.9 KJEE, $5,000 worth of guitars and gear from Ernie Ball, a prize pack from Instrumental Music, apparel and schwag from Arbor Collective, recording time at Playback Recording Studio, a chance to score a one-record recording contract with S.B.’s LeRoi Records, and a profile in The Independent’s 2011 Santa Barbara Band Guide.
Tickets for tonight’s semi-finals round and next week’s finals showcase can be purchased online at newnoisesb.com. All proceeds benefit the New Noise Music Foundation and the reopening of all-ages venue The Living Room.