And the Winner Is: Wicked Jed
By Esther Sanchez
The CV Music Showcase sponsored by CV Weekly, kicked off its 2nd round of competition this past Sunday night, with the winning band Wicked Jed taking home a 200.00 cash prize. They will join the band Bridger, winner of the December competition, as two of the 5 bands who will compete in the finals to be held in May, where bands will compete in front of music industry professionals for $1000 cash, other prizes, and sweet-ass bragging rights. The house was packed and it seemed as though everyone who showed up at The Hood Bar and Pizza for the 2nd installment of the 5 round band competition was in agreement that it was a night full of great music and excellent vibes.
What was abundantly clear is that every band competing had brought their “A” game. Numerous attendees were overheard discussing what a difficult job the judges had and a certain little birdie with a trademark goatee told me that the scores were very close and the top spot could have gone to any of the bands who took part and equally high-quality performances were given by all competitors. As I said after the show, it really was an apples and oranges situation and at risk of coming across as trite, every group who competed was a winner and represented as shining examples of why the desert is a hub for great live music of all genres.
The panel of judges included Cindy Hewitson, co-owner of Musicians Outlet, Jeannette Krehbiel, owner of Plan B in Thousand Palms, and local promoter, Steve Johns. They really did have their work cut out for them. Krehbiel: “I listen to live music all the time. This was a completely different experience judging bands. All of the bands were so good; they were all in sync, were all original, and energetic. You could tell they were having a lot of fun and it was really from their hearts. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and I thank CV Weekly for choosing me as a judge, it was awesome.”
As deserving as every competitor was, only one act could claim the coveted spot in the finals and that was Palm Springs based band, Wicked Jed. The trio consisting of Jared Engelmier, Evan Smith and Daniel Hagerty has been together since 2012 and they scored their victory by impressing the judges with their solid musicianship, marketable sound, and a clear chemistry with one another that made Wicked Jed seem to be very comfortable while performing. Wicked Jed will be competing for the crown in May against Round 1 winners, Bridger, and 3 other finalists to be determined in upcoming rounds.
Chill Magnet is a family affair. When Caleb (drums) and Noah Householder (guitar) became serious about music, their father, Tim Householder went above and beyond the norm to support his boys. Not only does Tim occasionally play instruments on their tracks, apparently he produces their recordings in a top-notch recording studio he built for them to utilize at will. Along came guitarist/key man, Randy Banis and a vocalist who likes to be called, Tomtom and you have a solid band with a high energy, pop-punk sound that resonated with the crowd.
Upper Class Poverty, are a Palm Desert/Thousand Palms based band with a unique sound. Former members of reggae/rock band, Sol Jah Rock, Rob Lawrence (guitar/vocals) and Corwin Hendricks (drums) joined with bassist, Mikey Hendricks, and lead guitarist Joe Borck, to create a melodic-punk sound that is peppered with a bit of reggae. Strong vocals and well-penned lyrics are among the numerous qualities that makes UCP a band worth following. Also, they are the recipients of the coolest band name award that I just made up in my head.
As the only hip hop group in the competition, the guys from The Bermuda, were clear underdogs from the start, but 20 seconds into their first song they clearly had everyone’s attention. Taylor (Madhatter), Ivan (Bunkz) and Giancarlo (Ivy the Giant), presented a stellar set consisting of raw tracks complementing clear and clever lyrics delivered with a charismatic edge. The fact that they showed the tenacity and balls to go into this competition where they were the sore thumbs from the start only made them more intriguing and by the end of the night, they had earned the respect of both the audience and their opponents in battle. I predict we will be seeing much more of these guys in the near future.
The next heat of the competition is scheduled for Feb, 7th at The Hood Bar & Pizza.
(Photos By Scott Pam Photography)