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Saturday July 14, was a night of epic proportion as the California Dreaming Finale took place at Aftershock Live Music Venue. The California Dreaming Competition offers bands the chance to win a trip to California to play in the famed Whiskey A Go-Go (responsible for the discovery of The Doors and so much more) as well as some other goodies like playing in front of the indutries inside reps. The top 8 bands got to showcase their talents for A&R exec and music mogul Tom Zutaut (Guns n’ Roses, Motley Crue) and a spot on the Jaeger stage at Rocklahoma 2012. The first rounds of Cali Dreamin began back in March where any band had equal oppurtunity to move on to the next round. Semi-finals were a bit tougher and were held in April/May. With it all landing on the Top 8 bands performing in the finale this July. The bands were judged by panels of judges consisting of local musicians, writers, radio hosts, and scene moguls that gave their opinions based on varying degrees of expertise. The bands always had a crowd vote. Which is where each person who purchased a ticket wrote their favorite band on the stub and voted. Votes were triple counted at the end of each round and count for a good portion of the overall score.
First on the stage at the Finale was the band for the bands COLLAPSE. If you know collapse you know them as fun lovin, hard workin, high energy and theatrical on …. and off stage. For this certain performance Collapse cranked all levels up to 13. With songs like Jagermeister, Mia Zapata, Punkass and so so many more literally being echoed through aftershock you know that Collapse had the crowd in the palm of their hands. They had an amazing set and though they didn’t take the bacon anyone can contest that it was memorable.
Next up was Injected Element and Order number Eleven. Injected element was tight you could tell that they put alot of thought into their music. Their stage presence left alot to be desired. Although the vocalists singing ability was was on a superior level, I felt he could have done more to connect with the audience. Order number Eleven in my opinion their performance that night didn’t kill it. For my first time seeing them I would have to say I’d like to give them a better look. Order number Eleven was given the silver certificate for metal band of the year at the 2012 Project Backstage awards. There is obviously something to this band that I missed and I am intrigued to give them a second look.
Hellevate took the stage, for being the “youngins” in the room. These gents brought some serious face melting to the stage. Definitely one of the most highly produced performances of the night. The one thing I’m always impressed with is musicians who are always out to perfect themselves, and Hellevate has come miles.
Mad Libby came to play next…and so did their crowd. Aftershocks body count doubled when they took their places under the lights. Big, small, little, tall Mad Libby brought all ages for real. But, that’s not the only thing they had brought, they brought a new look, and a new volume level. Their performance was non-stop rock from the word go. Though there were some points where harmonies were a bit iffy the rest of the show was incredible.
Drek was definitely a heavy hitter in this competition. Their performance was great and their crowd (being the dedicated Drek fans that they are) were with them throughout every lyric, and kick drum hit. Drek was something to worry about, they brought everything they had to the stage which is exactly what this competition needed. A little heat.
Burning Tide graced the stage in their usual fashion, by that I mean “kiss my country ass”, party on, good time havin burning tide. Now, I don’t know what happened with the “rumors” about what happened with their sound because I sat there and watched them sound check. So, whatever issues that happened during their performance sound wise had been overlooked prior to them starting which I firmly believe that since the issues were so severe the show could have been held for a moment to fix them. However sound was not Burning Tide’s only issue we had some string breakage and song confusion. All in all burning tide brought it back and set off the stage with an amazing display of confetti. The crowd was chanting their name by the end of the set.
Last on stage was Mute the Idol which I unfortunately was not able to watch their full performance as I was tending to a sleeping toddler. From the sounds I heard through the door of the green room Mute the Idol’s performance was tight and the crowd’s reaction volume wise told me they were doing well.
Between the discovery of the SLAM bandit’s dirty dirty deed and trying to get the judging done in an efficient and fair manner everyone was left standing waiting anxiously. Time had come to the winner: Mad Libby and congratulate everyone on all of their fine performances throughout a tough competition. It’s no secret that their wasn’t some hard feelings, but the one thing I know happens time and again in Kansas City is that people usually get over it, swallow their pride and give congrats where congrats are due. Congrats to all of the bands for making it so far, it was one hell of a night!