Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood was brimming with local music fans last night for the first installment of three Hard Rock Rising battle of the band preliminaries. The winner of each will compete with each other for the chance to perform at London's Hard Rock Calling music festival in Hyde Park. This might place one of our own onstage with the Boss himself and the E Street Band. Pretty impressive. But, first they have to beat out musicians from 86 other cities around the world. At least there's a chance.
Also impressive was the list of judges last night. The surprise big name was Lita Ford, which is a real rock and roll goodie. There were also members of Ghost of Gloria, the 2009 winner who is currently signed to EMI and Christine from Queen of the Scene.
Bands were voted by fans, so fans were naturally present. Fort Lauderdale's soulful funky rock band Community Property brought out their people and T-shirts, which they were giving out for free. Hip-hop group The Muthaship, which we might liken to the Black Eyed Peas in that some were dressed in crazy gear and there was lady in the band, had some seriously enthusiastic, screaming friends in the crowd.
The night began with DJ Crash Barbe who mixed electronic music live with two other dudes. It was like nothing we've ever heard. He sort of spoke in an OMC "How Bizarre" voice over much of the beats. He announced after the first song that they were going to bring the dustep. The main lyric of one of their songs was "destruction of monkey" and they even did a dubby version of the Who's "Magic Bus."
Next was Community Property who got plenty of cheers. They were totally devoted to the performance, sweating and singing. After a song or two, the singer asked again and again if the crowd wanted more. They did. They then covered Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground." It was quite an entertaining show. Lita Ford was an instant fan, you could tell when she shook the singer's hand enthusiastically after the performance.
The final act was The Muthaship who started awkwardly with a "Livin' on a Prayer" cover. It was a little karaoke-esque and seemed like they were trying to appeal to the Hollywood crowd. It worked and it was fun. They are a hip-hop group though and took their jobs seriously once they started performing their own material. One of their songs appeared to be called "You Don't Know What We're Drinking," a funny line. People were singing along. It ended all nuts and the crowd was chanting and wouldn't stop even when asked multiple times and nicely.
The winner was announced shortly thereafter. The judges preferred Community Property. The band thanked their competition and the judges. They announced, "See you at Tobacco Road!" Though they seemed favored for the win, the competition was stiff. We will likely see them again at the oldest bar in Miami.