Jake Jeanson (center) is lifted by friends and fans following his win at the 2012 Downtown Sound Battle of the Bands.
Paul Wellman

Last night, Santa Barbara singer-songwriter Jake Jeanson took home top prize in the Independent’s third annual Downtown Sound Battle of the Bands. The 21-year-old artist and his band of friends delivered a solid and sweet 30-minute set filled with tranquil folk orchestrations and four-part harmonies. Thanks to a crowd of fans that topped out at well over 100, Jeanson & Co. beat out fellow Downtown Sound finalists Freakin’ On Speakers, Broken Machine, and The Mutineers.

Thursday’s event was the grand finale of music competition that started last month with a week-long online contest at independent.com. There, over 200 bands battled is out for online votes, with the top six winners (and two editor’s picks) moving on to the semi-finals round. Last week, those eight semi-finalists were split into two groups of four, with each group plugging in to play SOho Restaurant & Music Club for friends, fans, and Independent-approved judges. The two highest scoring acts from each of last week’s two shows moved on to the finals. Come Thursday, the four finalists gathered over 400 folks to SOhO throughout the course of the night, all vying for Downtown Sound’s grand prize.

As the winner, Jeanson will take home over $5,000 worth of prizes, including a guitar, a bass, strings, and schwag from Ernie Ball, professional recording time at Santa Barbara Sound Design, airtime on KJEE 92.9 a pro photo shoot with Cara Robbins Photography, a slot at this year’s New Noise Musical Festival and Conference, and a write-up in the Santa Barbara Independent.


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