The Drift write up for the Battle of the Bands

Second Battle of the Bands declares a winner
From 18 local bands to six to one, a champ is chosen at Scarlett O’Hara’s
Posted: January 27, 2012 – 3:08pm

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The second Scarlett O’Hara’s Battle of the Bands concluded the night of Jan. 26 in a frenzy of funk, beer and smoke. Elbow to elbow much of the night, it was difficult to gain a good vantage point to watch the violent display of brute rock force. It was a true battle to behold. But your reporter braved the sonic carnage, heedless of his own safety, to provide a blow by blow of the event.
But before we get to that, a quick breakdown of the battle.
“Music is the most important thing on the planet. The end,” said leading event organizer and MC Amy Hendrickson, a local musician herself. “No, but seriously, this is a great excuse to network, see local bands that you might have never heard before and to just have a good time.” All convincing reasons to head out and support local musicians as they compete for the prizes.
And what were the prizes?
The winner received $1,200 in cash, four hours of studio time from A1A Studios in Jacksonville Beach, a band photo shoot courtesy of Unbound Photography and a spot on UNF’s Superfest lineup in April.
Eighteen bands were chosen by Scarlett O’Hara’s representatives from demos submitted by aspiring battlers. For the first three Thursdays in January, six bands competed a night, with two advancing each showdown to compete in the final. The event held to a tight schedule, with each band restricted to 30 minutes — 10 to set up and break down and 20 to play.
10:05 p.m.: Chillula took the stage next, and booties were soon shaking to the funky sounds. At times, they brought to mind Santana in party mode (if a fun Santana can be conjured in your mind — I guess circa ’69). Some buddies compared them to R. Kelly and Jamiroquai, which is probably more apt. One thing’s for sure: If I were trying to persuade a love interest to get freaky with me, I’d reach for my Chillula CD. When the music’s not partying, it’s in full-on sexy mode. If these dudes are as sultry smooth as their jams, you’d be well-advised to keep your girlfriend/wife at a safe distance. (Spoiler alert: Chillula rocked it and won.)
Chillulah was declared winner and received the $1,200 as well as the four hours of studio time, photo shoot and spot on Superfest. Some of the other bands were visibly bummed, but all were graceful, congratulating Chillulah on a battle well-fought.
In the end, all the bands put on a good show and should be proud of their efforts. Bands got to mingle with other bands, and different crowds got the opportunity to get together, ultimately making our little music community that much tighter.
About Chillula
Going on two years, Chillula is comprised of musicians from St. Augustine and other areas of northeast Florida. Until the recent Battle of the Bands was announced, Chillula had been playing cover songs at weddings and throughout the bar circuit. When frontman Chase Rideman heard about the event, he began writing original material, and soon the band had three songs that would propel them to their victory at Scarlett’s.
Rideman credits Chillula’s unique sound to their diverse influences, which include Incubus, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Jackson, Prince and Marvin Gaye.
As for the prize, Rideman is excited to put it to use. The band’s time at A1A Studios in Jacksonville Beach will be spent recording their new original tunes, which they hope to have available for fans at Superfest in April. Rideman also looks forward to their photography session with Unbound Photography, as they have no band photos with their new drummer, who just joined this month. And all that cash money won’t be spent on a party, but prudently invested back into the band to pay for equipment, websites and other services.
When asked about the Battle of the Bands and the music scene in St. Augustine, Rideman said, “The band community in St. Augustine is really strong. We all know each other, we’re all friends.” For Rideman, the Battle of the Bands was an opportunity to grow closer to these friends, while also an opportunity to share fan bases.
“Thanks to everyone for helping out and getting us to where we are now,” he said.