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Calling All the Young Dudes

2009-10-19 12:11
Rock Premier League
That said, I'm somewhat intrigued by the format being pushed for the Rock Premier League being held at Mercury Lounge from October 20. It is the first band competition I’ve heard of in the city that runs like a football tournament. Maybe it’s just World Cup fever. Or too much tequila at a "meeting".

These things are and should be aimed at young bands. Ideally bands that are about a year old. Yet most competitions fail the bands out of the gate, and the problems are manifold. No, most competitions are not "rigged" as losing bands tend to argue. More likely, judging criteria are under-thought and ill-advised. One shot and you’re done. Try next year.

For RPL, however, the format holds out hope for some sort of deviation from the norm. The judging criteria may or may not run into the same issues, but the non-elimination nature of the "tournament" introduces a new element to proceedings.

The way I understand it, there are four groups of four bands (A-D), and every week, a group stages two "matches" - two one-on-one "play-offs". Bands accumulate points in various categories and for wins I guess, and at the end of the round-robin stage, the top – scoring bands in each group advance to a semi-final. The winners of that round then play a big show as a decider.

At the very least, this will make for interesting viewing. A band has the opportunity to develop and improve their act dramatically over three rounds. And it will be fascinating to see if some bands tailor their act to supplement or undermine their "opponents".

In any event, I think this competition design could really do a lot of good that most elimination formats never even consider. The band is in the competition for at least 12 weeks. It plays a pressure stage for at least 3 shows over those twelve weeks. If the organisers can build a feedback or development factor into proceedings, they’ve got my vote. That can only do young bands a world of good.

The Rock Premier League starts October 20 and runs through February 20, 2010 at Mercury Live, Cape Town. 

1st Match: Heart Shaped Heresy vs Lydekrane
DJ Break
2nd Match: She Man Lion vs Stereo Zen.
Arrive? 8pm. Cover? R20

I've played in them, organised them, judged them and ultimately disowned them. But, like a bad rash that happened when you got back from Bangkok, Band Competitions – or Battles of the Bands – just don’t seem to go away. Or make much sense.
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