High school metal bands, hardcore kids and a group of Jonas Brothers look-a-likes competed in front of cheering parents and friends in the first Bringing Down the House competition (sponsored by the Weekly) at the House of Blues on Thursday. The evening showcased 11 bands from high schools across the Vegas Valley, performing up to 15 minutes apiece.
First place went to hardcore band Capture the Cloud, whose members received a $500 Guitar Center gift certificate, tickets to a House of Blues show of their choice and an invitation to perform again at the venue inside Mandalay Bay. Grunge-rockers Garbage Tree sold the most tickets and scored a $500 Guitar Center gift certificate for their efforts.
We’ll be keeping tabs on three more of the night’s entrants. They didn’t win, but when has that ever stopped a rock band from rocking?
Gun Show: These curly-haired musicians might resemble The Jonas Brothers, but they’re more than adorable faces. Covering Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” and Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade,” Gun Show seems capable of taking its music in several directions. Hearing the clean-cut boys sing about “a pocket full of shells” felt bizarre, but their willingness to try edgier songs could separate them from your average popsters. As they focus more on original material, you might find yourself buying tickets to this Gun Show sometime soon.
GPB: The only punk band of the evening played an all-original, politically charged set reminiscent of early ’90s Rancid. Ask GPB what its initials stand for and guitarist/singer Tanner Conley will probably reply with something like “Take a guess.” For now, the name’s a secret among the band members. A more energetic performance could have helped them in the competition, but maybe they toned it down for the HOB crowd. Still, with Mohawks that big, the show needs to be even bigger.
Throughout the End: The sixth band of the night was the first to show real musicianship. Everyone in this hardcore outfit knew how to play his instrument—and play it well. Singer Mike Chavez used the length of the stage to jump around and connect with the audience, growling indecipherable lyrics as the guitarists head-banged in unison. Throughout the End didn’t win in the end, but the band could become a household name in local hardcore before long.