Blue Suns (left) and Islay Street (right) will play the Downtown Sound finals at SOhO on October 20.

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 All proceeds benefit the New Noise Music Foundation and the reopening of all-ages venue The Living Room.

Congrats, guys!


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