By Esther Sanchez
After 20 local musical acts battled over five months of preliminary rounds it came down to one kick-ass night at the Hard Rock Hotel. Saturday night, finalists Razor J & the Blades, Wicked Jed, Monreaux, Murkocet and Bridger all gave performances worthy of what turned out to be an epic clash of desert, musical titans…any of whom could be considered worthy of the top-spot. Alas…as worthwhile as each competitor was…there was but one top spot and that went to a band that was undeniably deserving.
No stranger to receiving accolades, Bridger have been the recipients of multiple CVMAs in past years, new nominations this year, and have earned each one with gratefulness and class not to mention sweat and tears. A top-notch band on every level…a typical Bridger performance tends to leave everyone in attendance beyond impressed and just when I thought I knew how good Bridger was…Saturday night they somehow rose to yet another level of face-melting, badassery.
When it came time for our judges, all of whom have experienced success in the entertainment industry, to give their remarks, they had heaps of praise for the winning performance. Judges included: Mikey Doling, Gold-selling recording artist from the bands Snot, Soulfly and Channel Zero. Doling has toured the world with Metallica, Ozzy, Pantera, Slayer, Megadeth, Tool, System of a Down, and a long list of others; Arthur Seay of House of Broken Promises, Unida and Apeshit, who has toured the world with his own bands as well as Slipknot, Godsmack, Limp Bizkit, Five Finger Death Punch just to name a few. He also owns DezLoSun Recording Studio; Esjay Jones, currently signed to Universal Music as a producer and songwriter, has worked with the likes of Krewella to Nile Rodgers to Alien Ant Farm and many more; Dave Collins, Operations Manager at Music Depot LA, who previously worked with Fender for 12 years. He has worked with bands such as Alabama, Slayer, W.A.S.P., Slipknot, Slash, LA Guns, Hatebreed and Eddie Van Halen and over the course of his 25 years in the business he has placed product on such shows as How I Met Your Mother, NCIS, Parenthood, CSI, Bones. In his current position he places product for such manufacturers as DW, Music Man, Paiste Cymbals, Line 6, Taylor, Gretsch, Roland and Guild into recent shows including Grease Live!, NCIS, Modern Family and School of Rock; Astrella, singer, songwriter and fashion designer, she is the Head of Design & Creative and partner in her own Musical T’s lifestyle clothing line and is also the daughter of Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Donovan; and Jason Rothberg, partner and A&R and Marketing at the Musical T’s, with 20+ years in the music business he headed up Creative and Promotions for IRS and Priority Records, together with Miles Copeland they founded the imprint label Lions Pride Recordings. He partnered with Sony Epic in 1996 where he produced and released tracks with Ice Cube, Korn, No Doubt, 311, Moby and more. He most recently has partnered with film icon David Lynch to establish the first non-profit record label, Transcendental Music.
This impressive panel of judges seemed genuinely impressed by Bridger and honestly, there is no question as to why. The quality of their musicianship can only be surpassed by their energy, stage-presence, charisma and showmanship. To quote my colleague, music-writer, Lisa Morgan, “What more can I say about this band that has already been written?” As far as I can see, the only direction for Bridger is up and if you have yet to check them out, you really should remedy that situation asap.
On behalf of everyone at CV Weekly I would like to extend sincere thanks to everyone who has taken part in the Showcase series from the musicians to the judges to the venue workers and especially the fans who came out and supported all of our home-town rock-stars. You are all essential parts of what is arguably one of the coolest little music scenes on earth. The CV Music Showcase would also like to thank and acknowledge their sponsors: Hard Rock Hotel, Hot Purple Energy and the owners of The Hood Bar for sponsoring the $1000 cash prize and sound and lighting by RSP Productions. We hope to see as many of you as possible on Sunday, May 22nd as we continue to honor and celebrate local talent at the 3rd Annual CV Music Awards held at the Riviera Hotel. It will be a great time not only for scene vets but for any of you who want to finally see what all of the buzz is about. To purchase tickets for the CV Music Awards call 760-501-6228.