The first JTs Bourbon Street Grille Battle of the Bands is now in the books. Five bands competed for the grand prize Sunday, Sept. 10, in a very diverse and competitive night of music. Fans listened to blues, country, metal and rock, as the panel of judges came to a final decision. Although each genre was well represented, it was the work of rock up-and-comer Endity that walked away with top honors and a $1,000 check.
Hailing from Rockford, the five-piece group proved itself with a polished set that was nothing short of tight. Led by singer Matt Mickelson, Endity boasted a solid pocket, created by drummer Eric Fishe and bassist Brian Ross, which gave Ian Johnson and Dan Ross free rein to add blistering guitar chops. Mickelsons vocal range moved from key to key with ease, as he displayed why hes on his way to becoming a veteran frontman.
Claiming the second-place prize, Reign of Ruin oozed energy and stamina as it belted out a setlist of striking works of power and speed. With every note, the band made a strong point: its a heavy metal band, and its here to stay. Reign of Ruins large following was loyal, loud and active, engulfing the front of the stage, which seemed to fuel the bands raw force and its mastery of metal intricacies. For its second-place effort, Reign of Ruin was awarded a $250 gift certificate to JTs Bourbon Street Grille.
The Aug. 9 preliminary winner, Split Decision, swiftly added to the evenings diversity, emerging with an hour of rock and country to capture third place and a $150 gift certificate to Bourbon Street. With a multi-dimensional sound, the band covered material from Ted Nugent, Molly Hatchet, Jet and Tim McGraw as well as introducing a Split Decision original, which hinted at a new direction for the band.
Blues Hawks and Bone Shed also competed in the finals, receiving special mention and gift certificates to the restaurant.
Bands were judged on stage presence, audience reaction, instrumentaion, professionalism and timing.
As part of its prize package, Endity will also be the focus of a feature story in The Rock River Times. The band is in the studio finishing an EP that will be available soon. Look for a review of the new CD and a complete inside look at the band in The Rock River Times Vibe Entertainment section.
JTs Bourbon Street Grille is at 1407 N. Main St., Rockford. More information about menus, live music and other special events can be obtained by calling the restaurant at 964-4400.
From the Sept. 13-19, 2006, issue