PSA for Local Bands, Don't Get Ripped Off by Emergenza
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 6, 2007 7:23PM
Emergenza is an adult battle of the bands that sunk its foul claws into our city a few years ago. While it's certainly a boon to the clubs that play host to its elimination rounds, we can't see why any band would want to enter the competition.
In order to enter, you have to pay a $70.00 fee. While it does does guarantee you'll get on at least one showcase, it does nothing to insuring any semblance of quality in many of the participating bands, nor does it mean you'll be competing against bands from a similar genre. A fee that guarantees entry should be the first tip-off that this isn't exactly a competition interested in crowing the most talented band as its winner.
Then there's the method of moving forward in the competition. The bands aren't judged by any impartial panel, they're chosen through the voting of the people attending their concerts. This means the band that gets the most fans out, gets to move ahead, and the results have zero to do with musical acumen. So if you're an up-and-coming band hoping to move ahead on your talent, it ain't going to happen. No one attends these shows unless they are brought in through their fandom of a specific band on the bill.
There is an upside to this arrangement, though. It does provide great business for the bar hosting the event, and since their staff has to sit through so many bad bands -- and we're not saying all the bands are terrible, but with no filter outside a high registration fee we will say the ratio of good to bad is heavily weighted towards the latter -- we are of the opinion that the venues deserve to turn a hefty profit.
We could even probably be persuaded that the voting process is o.k., especially in the American Idol age, but then we noticed that the initial elimination rounds in Chicago (occurring at Elbo Room) charge fans a $20 admission fee.* And that's just the first round! God forbid your band is unlucky enough to move forward from there, forcing them to demand their fans pay another hefty fee at the door for a competition they'll most likely lose.
So, local bands, save your money. Play your own shows. Record in your bedroom or at local studios, and grow a following through writing good songs and winning over fans with your music instead of hoping fancy equipment or free studio time will gain your band groupies. Trust us when we say a crooked self-serving competition like Emergenza isn't really there to help you get ahead in the biz. It's only there to help itself fatten its wallet.
*We sent Elbo Room an email asking to clarify who gets the admission fee, but are still awaiting a response. We will add a clarification when we get one.