Saturday, May 16, 2015

2015 EMP Sound Off! Ruled Like It Always Does

I work with engineers from India who visit Seattle for a few months and work on assorted technical issues around our Mediasense media recording server appliance. As a total local music geek, I've taken it upon myself to make sure they get a good introduction to the Seattle music scene before they head back home.

It's tricky - finding a good show that fits 4 or 5 schedules, making sure we have some way to get there and back, making sure it's not too weird or offbeat (I like that stuff but many don't), the venue's not too dive-ish, etc. All ages shows tend to be a good bet, less drinking and more focus on the music

Every Spring the all-ages EMP Sound Off! shows happen in February with the Finals in March (more or less). This is reliably one of my favorite sets of shows every year. I love getting to know new bands and I'll get to see 12 bands I've never heard of (well, this year I'd heard of 2 but that's an outlier, never happened before). The EMP chooses great bands from a variety of genres out of a large number of applicants and the talent is always amazing.

Each of the 3 semifinal shows has 4 bands, for example we saw Bleachbear, Supersoaked, Champagne Babylon and Night Space. The bands go on in a random order and play for about 40 minutes each.

Bleachbear winning their Semifinal round

Champagne Babylon got the Wild Card runner up spot

Super Soaked rocking out
The judges gather after the show and award a winner and a runner up. There's also an audience participation award; we (the audience) scream for each band and the band with the loudest fans gets some additional prizes. The winner of each of the 3 semifinals goes to the finals. One band from the 3 wild card (runner up) teams is also selected bringing the total to 4 bands.

Once again the 4 bands play in random order and the judges award the title and we all cheer and head home happy and sweaty after another great night of music.

The winner gets studio time and equipment and a performance slot at Bumbershoot. There were a couple of additional festivals with buyers in attendance signing up bands for the year's regional festivals.

This year the energy was very positive and we had a wide range of acts and styles of music. I enjoyed the heck out of it and every single band I saw is worth keeping an eye on. Bleachbear, Naked Giants, Emma Lee Toyoda and One Above None Below have all been getting gigs around town & that's just the shows I noticed.

In the finals One Above and None Below came from the Wild Card slot to win it all with an electric performance against intense competition - intensely happy and upbeat competition, every single act seemed to be having the time of their life and obviously enjoyed getting to play for us.

The peak acts got us dancing and sweating and having a great time, and every act was interesting and different and unique. It was  a memorable introduction to the all-ages Seattle music scene for the engineers who'd flown around the globe from almost the exact opposite side.

No comments:

Post a Comment