#1
My band played at my high school's battle of the bands this year, and we want to start planning for next year. We really want to win, but the winner is decided by a panel of teachers and in the three years I've seen it, they have never given it to the best rock band or the band that got the best crowd reaction (the past two years they've given it to a blues band that got little to no crowd reaction over a super popular and talented rock band). We're a rock/alternative band (really we're all over the place but thats beside the point) and we want to play something that will make us stand out to the judges while still keeping our edge. The show's not for like 6 months so preparation time isn't an issue. Like I said, we're all over the place so genre or sub-genre really doesn't matter. My school's really strict about appropriateness so they have to be either clean or easily editable (it sucks, I know). Any ideas?
#2
Forgive me if I'm about to give you an answer you aren't looking for, but bear with me.

If they haven't given it to who you see as the best band or the band that gets the best crowd reaction, then would you really call it winning? I mean, judging by what you said it sounds like they want something safe, watered-down, and unmemorable. If it really means that much to you to win just for the sake of saying you won, then by all means do that - I'm not going to judge you for it and obviously it's entirely at your discretion what you guys want to do. If I were in your situation, though, I would go ahead and lose all concern over winning.

Here's what I suggest: play something really high-energy. Go out there with the best stage presence you can and rock the hell out of that audience (play for them, not the judges), and I mean really give them a proper show. Do everything in your power to make that theater or gymnasium or whatever it's being held in feel like a sold out arena - I mean really leave it all on the stage. If you guys' sound is tight and you guys do that and really mean it, then the audience isn't gonna give a damn who wins because they'll remember your performance the best. Trust me, it's a whole hell of a lot more fulfilling to play like you mean it and be a crowd favorite than to play it safe to win over a few judges. Plus, I know just a couple years back when I was in high school I was a lot more interested in my music impressing girls in the audience than any of my teachers

That's just my advice. I encourage you to do what feels the best to you guys as a band above all, though, and I wish you the best of luck!
#4
Quote by ARom22
Forgive me if I'm about to give you an answer you aren't looking for, but bear with me.

If they haven't given it to who you see as the best band or the band that gets the best crowd reaction, then would you really call it winning? I mean, judging by what you said it sounds like they want something safe, watered-down, and unmemorable. If it really means that much to you to win just for the sake of saying you won, then by all means do that - I'm not going to judge you for it and obviously it's entirely at your discretion what you guys want to do. If I were in your situation, though, I would go ahead and lose all concern over winning.

Here's what I suggest: play something really high-energy. Go out there with the best stage presence you can and rock the hell out of that audience (play for them, not the judges), and I mean really give them a proper show. Do everything in your power to make that theater or gymnasium or whatever it's being held in feel like a sold out arena - I mean really leave it all on the stage. If you guys' sound is tight and you guys do that and really mean it, then the audience isn't gonna give a damn who wins because they'll remember your performance the best. Trust me, it's a whole hell of a lot more fulfilling to play like you mean it and be a crowd favorite than to play it safe to win over a few judges. Plus, I know just a couple years back when I was in high school I was a lot more interested in my music impressing girls in the audience than any of my teachers

That's just my advice. I encourage you to do what feels the best to you guys as a band above all, though, and I wish you the best of luck!



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#5
If you want to stand out, the best thing you can do from a physchology point of view is to know the panel of teachers.

I can't give you a decent answer because I don't know them. If the judges know a lot about music, then playing something technical will make you stand out. If they are a jazz music fan, taking a jazz song and interpreting it your way will make you stand out. If they have no idea about music and are just the only ones who can be bothered to judge it, play something they will have surely heard.

If you don't know them at all, and have no interest in finding out. Then just gauge their ages, look at the way they dress and pick something they all will have heard or know, but make it your own.

Thats my guess anyway….
#6
Does your band have any songs? Are you covers or originals?
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#7
Perhaps the timeless classic I Cum Blood.
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#8
It's always nice to win, but how important is it to you. A school band competition isn't about making a career, it should be about having fun and letting as many students show off their talent as possible. Can you show off your talent and have fun?
Then go for that and be proud of what you do.

Which is the best band in the world? There isn't one of course, it depends upon taste and upon your criteria. Is it the most technically able? Then you'd only be looking at classical and jazz music probably. Is it the one with the best singer, the biggest sales? Who cares?

Teachers are a funny and frustrating bunch. I was a teacher. They may want to reward someone who has worked hard, improved the most over the year, someone who needs a bit of encouragement or something else not strictly to do with the music. This may be a bit unfair but is it evil or wrong?

Musically they are teachers, they may be looking for technical things that aren't in your music but are in the bands you think you were better than. They are almost bound to be more interested in the things they teach as important, which may be less important in rock. If you want to know then ask them directly, they may even have a 'mark scheme' which they will show you.

Most of all though treat it as a bit of fun and a chance to show your best to a good audience and do what you want to do. You might even win but you can't lose if you do what you want and do it well.
#9
If you play a recognizable song (any big Top 40 single of the last couple of years) but play it as a different genre (maybe like jazz, bluegrass, surf rock, Irish punk, etc). People find that sort of thing enjoyable because they recognize the song and they are super impressed that you played it differently. Ideally if you changed genres between verses that would be even better.

they have never given it to the best rock band


And why, pray tell, do you feel that a rock band should win? Aren't blues, jazz, country, punk, bluegrass, reggae, etc bands bands too? Can't they be talented? Shouldn't they have a chance to win?
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#10
Black Keys - Gold on the ceiling or Lonely Boy - those are rock hits that should be crowd pleasing enough.

Don't play any metal - even though it's fun, you'll never win.
#11
Quote by reverb66
Black Keys - Gold on the ceiling or Lonely Boy - those are rock hits that should be crowd pleasing enough.


The idea of pleasing the crowd by playing hits is that you want to play songs that at least a good chunk of the audience is familiar with, and probably not more than a few people there will have ever even heard of the Black Keys, let alone recognize any of their material.
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#12
Quote by theogonia777
The idea of pleasing the crowd by playing hits is that you want to play songs that at least a good chunk of the audience is familiar with, and probably not more than a few people there will have ever even heard of the Black Keys, let alone recognize any of their material.


Yeah, the Black Keys are pretty unknown...it's not like they've sold millions of albums worldwide or won a bunch of grammys...
#13
I was about to say, the Black Keys are a massive band. I wouldnt play covers though, unless you are a cover band.
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#14
Quote by reverb66
Yeah, the Black Keys are pretty unknown...it's not like they've sold millions of albums worldwide or won a bunch of grammys...


Yeah but like... how many 15 year old high school girls know them? Just because a particular artist is well known to a number of groups of people does not mean that they are known to one particular group. And that particular group, high school kids, is particularly tricky. I mean, Iron Maiden, Bruce Springsteen, Slayer, the Ramones, Bon Jovi, Public Enemy, Van Halen, etc all are probably bigger names than the Black Keys, and many people at the age certainly don't even know any of those.

Compared to all the Top 40 artists of the last two years (that probably at least 90% of the people in attendance will know), the Black Keys are, in fact, pretty unknown.

And using record sales or Grammy awards as a measure for how well known an artist is? I could list quite a number of artists that have sold many records and won Grammys and you would certainly not have heard of all of them (let alone the aforementioned demographic of a high school battle of the bands).
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#15
Quote by theogonia777
Yeah but like... how many 15 year old high school girls know them? Just because a particular artist is well known to a number of groups of people does not mean that they are known to one particular group. And that particular group, high school kids, is particularly tricky. I mean, Iron Maiden, Bruce Springsteen, Slayer, the Ramones, Bon Jovi, Public Enemy, Van Halen, etc all are probably bigger names than the Black Keys, and many people at the age certainly don't even know any of those.

Compared to all the Top 40 artists of the last two years (that probably at least 90% of the people in attendance will know), the Black Keys are, in fact, pretty unknown.

And using record sales or Grammy awards as a measure for how well known an artist is? I could list quite a number of artists that have sold many records and won Grammys and you would certainly not have heard of all of them (let alone the aforementioned demographic of a high school battle of the bands).


I suppose you have a point, I honestly have no idea what 15 year-olds are listening to these days - Black Keys was my best guess for a rock band given their success.

In my day we played Iron Maiden and Dream Theater...the girls didn't exactly go wild for those either lol.
#16
Quote by theogonia777
Yeah but like... how many 15 year old high school girls know them? Just because a particular artist is well known to a number of groups of people does not mean that they are known to one particular group. And that particular group, high school kids, is particularly tricky. I mean, Iron Maiden, Bruce Springsteen, Slayer, the Ramones, Bon Jovi, Public Enemy, Van Halen, etc all are probably bigger names than the Black Keys, and many people at the age certainly don't even know any of those.

Compared to all the Top 40 artists of the last two years (that probably at least 90% of the people in attendance will know), the Black Keys are, in fact, pretty unknown.

And using record sales or Grammy awards as a measure for how well known an artist is? I could list quite a number of artists that have sold many records and won Grammys and you would certainly not have heard of all of them (let alone the aforementioned demographic of a high school battle of the bands).


Every other artist you listed hasn't had a hit since the 1980s. The Black Keys are big name, those songs are instantly recognisable. They got flogged to within an inch of their life on Top 40 radio.
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#17
Quote by reverb66
I suppose you have a point, I honestly have no idea what 15 year-olds are listening to these days - Black Keys was my best guess for a rock band given their success.


See, but the young kids these days don't really listen to rock (for better or for worse). On the other hand, if you played Blurred Lines, Get Lucky, or Locked Out of Heaven, all the kids would probably recognize those.

Quote by Forkman
Every other artist you listed hasn't had a hit since the 1980s.


First of all, this is not true at all. For example, Bruce Springsteen has had 6 number 1 albums since 2000, with two golds (plus another gold that peaked at number 3), a platinum, and a double platinum (and that's just US charts).

Bon Jovi has released 6 albums since 2000 that have totaled at about 30,000,000 sales worldwide (including 2 number 1s and 2 number 2s) and 3 singles making it to the top half of the Hot 100 chart.

Now, maybe none of them have had any big number 1 Hot 100 singles, but:

The Black Keys have not had a single number 1 album (Brothers and El Camino picked at 3 and 2, respectively, though both have been certified platinum in the US) and their highest single on the Hot 100 chart was Lonely Boy at number 64. You know, just for comparison.

Really though, recent hits was not my point. My point was that those are all artists that have had a fair level of cultural significance (I would imagine that the percentage of people in the US over the age of 20 that have heard Living on a Prayer at sometime in their lives is pretty high, and It's My Life and Have a Nice Day were horribly unavoidable in Top 40 airplay around 2000 and 2005, respectively) and yet these artists are all probably fairly foreign to the average high school girl, with maybe Slayer being known as "that band that is on all of that weird, antisocial guy with the long hair's t-shirts".

The Black Keys are big name, those songs are instantly recognisable.


But to the average high school girl? I really don't think that is the cased based on what all of my sister's friends and all of my friends' under-18 sisters listen to, or judging by chart success for that matter. In the words of Charles Barkley, "I may be wrong, but I doubt it."

They got flogged to within an inch of their life on Top 40 radio.


And what are you basing that on exactly? It certainly can't be chart success, since the charts don't show them ever being in the top 40 of the Hot 100 chart (in case you didn't know, Top 40 is not a chart but rather a radio format where only the "top 40" most popular singles are played).

And I'm guessing that, since you are in Australia, you certainly haven't been listening to much US Top 40 radio. So how exactly would you know what they are playing?
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#18
Choosing a song to play so that you'll win...

...what happened to music

Tell you what, play a sing you know you can play well. Hopefully it is your own song and hopefully you actually have talent. Suck it up if you lose, it's probably not going to break you into the big time.
#19
Quote by theogonia777
See, but the young kids these days don't really listen to rock (for better or for worse). On the other hand, if you played Blurred Lines, Get Lucky, or Locked Out of Heaven, all the kids would probably recognize those.


First of all, this is not true at all. For example, Bruce Springsteen has had 6 number 1 albums since 2000, with two golds (plus another gold that peaked at number 3), a platinum, and a double platinum (and that's just US charts).

Bon Jovi has released 6 albums since 2000 that have totaled at about 30,000,000 sales worldwide (including 2 number 1s and 2 number 2s) and 3 singles making it to the top half of the Hot 100 chart.

Now, maybe none of them have had any big number 1 Hot 100 singles, but:

The Black Keys have not had a single number 1 album (Brothers and El Camino picked at 3 and 2, respectively, though both have been certified platinum in the US) and their highest single on the Hot 100 chart was Lonely Boy at number 64. You know, just for comparison.

Really though, recent hits was not my point. My point was that those are all artists that have had a fair level of cultural significance (I would imagine that the percentage of people in the US over the age of 20 that have heard Living on a Prayer at sometime in their lives is pretty high, and It's My Life and Have a Nice Day were horribly unavoidable in Top 40 airplay around 2000 and 2005, respectively) and yet these artists are all probably fairly foreign to the average high school girl, with maybe Slayer being known as "that band that is on all of that weird, antisocial guy with the long hair's t-shirts".


But to the average high school girl? I really don't think that is the cased based on what all of my sister's friends and all of my friends' under-18 sisters listen to, or judging by chart success for that matter. In the words of Charles Barkley, "I may be wrong, but I doubt it."


And what are you basing that on exactly? It certainly can't be chart success, since the charts don't show them ever being in the top 40 of the Hot 100 chart (in case you didn't know, Top 40 is not a chart but rather a radio format where only the "top 40" most popular singles are played).

And I'm guessing that, since you are in Australia, you certainly haven't been listening to much US Top 40 radio. So how exactly would you know what they are playing?


You've seriously proved my point. Bon Jovi last had a hit back in 2000. Sick, everyone in the audience would have been 2 when that happened.

What's that? The Black Keys have released 2 albums in the past 4 years that went to #2 and #3 on the chart? They have a bunch of Youtube videos that have over 30 million views on Youtube? You conveniently left out they topped the Billboard Rock and Alternative Charts with those singles? They're kids, not goldfish, they'll remember the song. That black dude was on Ellen for ****s sake.
Quote by Kozlic
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#20
If you want to win, play blues.
If you want to rock, play rock.
If you want a big crowd reaction, play Katy Perry.

I mean, you're playing to a crowd of tone-deaf superficial teenagers that are dictating Top 40 music's sorry ass state of quality and a panel of stiff tie-wearing suits who probably still go home and listen to Elton John.

You're in a no-win situation.

Rock out. Rock hard. And play whatever you want. I got respect for that.
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#21
Quote by Forkman
You've seriously proved my point. Bon Jovi last had a hit back in 2000. Sick, everyone in the audience would have been 2 when that happened.


Ah, but you said:

Every other artist you listed hasn't had a hit since the 1980s.


which is factually completely untrue. It also does not imply in any way that your point was that none of those artists have had a hit that released within memory of 15 year olds. If that was indeed your point, maybe you should have said that?

What's that? The Black Keys have released 2 albums in the past 4 years that went to #2 and #3 on the chart?


Do you even have any idea what the Billboard 200 chart is? It is basically... a chart of the most popular album that week. Whenever a band that is popular in their genre they generally have a decent shot of making it on that chart, while having little to no real indication of mainstream popularity.

Again, remember those artists that you were trying to tell me haven't had any "hits" since the 1980s? Waaay more number 1, 2, and 3 albums on those charts than the Black Keys.

So why is it that you seem to be saying that those two albums on that chart is proof that the Black Keys are super popular... but then you are saying that other bands that do better on those same charts are not popular?


They have a bunch of Youtube videos that have over 30 million views on Youtube?


First of all... they have exactly 2 videos on Youtube with over 30 million views. Hardly what anyone would refer to as "a bunch", but I digress...

Bon Jovi has a bunch of Youtube videos that have over 30 million views on Youtube as well. Shoot, It's My Life has almost 150 million and Livin' On A Prayer has 82 million, and Always has 89 million.

So if we're using youtube views as a measure of popularity, it's pretty obvious which of those wins...

Now on the other hand, artists that the average high school girl would actually know, like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, or Katy Perry... we're talking dozens of 100, even 200 million view videos.

You conveniently left out they topped the Billboard Rock and Alternative Charts with those singles?


I didn't include that because those charts are even more useless for gauging mainstream value. The only chart that really matters is the top half of Top 100 chart, since those are the singles that actually are being played on mainstream Top 40 radio stations (ie what 15 year old girls will actually know).

Honestly, you don't seem to have any clue whatsoever as to how chart success and view counts relate to mainstream success.


They're kids, not goldfish, they'll remember the song.


Remember a song that they probably have never heard ever? Yeah, okay.

That black dude was on Ellen for ****s sake.


Okay?
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#22
Jesus. People arguing about the Black Keys.

Popularity does not always equal Quality.

Hitler was pretty popular too.
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