Blues, modern rock and jam, heavy rock and even heavier “new” metal converge on one stage when the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase final is decided on Friday, March 4, at Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom.
The music begins at 10 p.m. Admission is $6. Each band will play 30 minutes of original music to earn the title of this year’s Best Original Music Band in Arkansas.
The final pits the winner from each of four semifinals that were held on successive Thursdays beginning Jan. 27. The lineup, in performance order, is: Charlotte Taylor and Gypsy Rain, based out of Heber Springs and Little Rock; the Odds, from Fayetteville; Further Down, a Jonesboro contingent, and Little Rock’s Temper Effect.
Six judges, including two members of popular local bands, along with Alltel Arena’s Michael Marion, KMJX-FM, Magic 105’s Tom Wood and other celebrities, will choose the winner based on a 60-point scoring system: 15 points for song originality, 15 for song quality, and 10 points each for musicianship, showmanship and crowd response. The lowest of the six judges’ scores is tossed in compiling the totals.
Sixteen bands out of 52 entries qualified for the semifinals. Friday’s winner will join these most recent showcase champions: Grandpa’s Goodtime Fandango (2004), Salty Dogs (2003), Runaway Planet (2002), Mojo Depot (2001), Big Silver (2000) and Brenda and Ellis (1999).
The winner will receive a $300 gift certificate from Jacksonville Guitar, $200 in food from Trio’s, recording time from Blue Chair Studio, an ice chest full of Red Bull, guaranteed spots in Riverfest on Memorial Day weekend and on the Peabody-Little Rock’s summer slate of concerts, and a photo shoot from Times photographer Brian Chilson.