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Battle of the Bands

May 12, 2010 - Trisha Smith

Fresh talents vie to become the next big thing in the Maui scene.


After the demise of the alternative rock station, X-92.5FM, the popular Battle of the Bands seemed to get lost in mix. Yet, K-Rock’s Ace’s Radio Rehab on 97.3FM is currently putting together an interisland battle and did a nice job putting together a battle between some hard rock and metal bands last year on the West Side.

Other talents though, who play other rock, reggae, folk, soul, Hawaiian and more, have been craving for another chance to compete onstage and reveal to Maui music fans their original songwriting and performance power.

Fame Life Productions—which includes Maui’s pop-rock rising stars, The Throwdowns—are attempting to invigorate the local music scene by helping put together a competition at Mulligan’s On the Blue. Rock on over this Saturday, May 15, as some of Maui’s finest up-and-coming singers, songwriters and collectives sound off to win prizes that will help them kick their careers into high-gear.

Three-fourths of The Throwdowns’ current line-up won the popular X-92.5FM Battle of the Bands in 2008, and have been climbing the hill of success ever since, including high acclaim of their debut, Don’t Slow Down, and a distribution deal with one’s of the nation’s best indie companies. Visit for more information, including news, reviews, shows and much more. 

The team behind Fame Life recently sent me some of the information below, and I commend them for taking initiative to elevate the scene with some fresh meat. 

If you have any interest in Maui’s growing music arena and the hard-working individuals who strive to keep the beats going, you must attend this exciting showcase.


Fame Life Productions and Q103 presents the Battle of the Bands on Saturday, May 15, beginning at 7 p.m. at Mulligan’s On the Blue.

The grand prize battle winner will have their musical career jump-started with a three-song EP recorded by We Are More Studios, a CD cover designed by Scott Johnson at Dogtowne Design, a photo shoot with Justin Orr Photography and a chance to open for The Throwdowns on the Maui date of The Kona Brewing Company/Surfrider Foundation tour on Saturday, June 12.

Truly a golden opportunity for a local act to work with the best the islands has to offer, this dream team has worked with notable acts on the Hawaiian scene ranging from Keali'i Reichel and Hapa, to Paula Fuga, Vince Esquire Band and The Throwdowns. The winner will have an EP, photos and graphics ready to go to pressing, and will receive support as their songs are pitched to all major Maui radio stations.

Of the nearly 30 bands and solo artists of all ages who submitted for a slot in the battle, 11 have been chosen. Each will play two original songs to start. If moved on to the next round, a third and final song will have to be played. The judging process will be based 50 percent on crowd participation and 50 percent on songwriting, performance and musicianship. The panel of judges includes Tommy Russo  (MauiTime), Vince Esquire (Kanekoa/Vince Esquire Band), Scott Johnson (Dogtowne Design) and Erin Smith (The Throwdowns).

"Not only do we want to see your talent but we want to see your work ethic," said the Fame Life Team. "NO ONE gets by in the music industry by just playing music."

If you are totally new to the game but bring all your friends to scream, you could win. If you are a total pro and bring no friends, the judges can only give you 50 percent.

“This event is important because it focuses on original songs,” The Throwdowns said. “Originality rallies the musical community. We would love to hear some of these bands on the radio, and this is an opportunity to make that happen.”

The Throwdowns will be hitting Maui, Oahu, Kaua‘i and the Big Island on the Kona Brewing Company/Surfrider Foundation Tour in June to raise awareness for Hawai‘i’s waters and coastlines.

An international organization dedicated to ocean, reef and shoreline protection, the Hawaiian Chapters of Surfrider are looking to expand their members, with a particular interest in working to lessen the impact of plastic debris and the damage it causes to ecosystems and marine life.

For The Throwdowns’ bassist Kimo Clark, a boardmember for the Surfrider Maui Chapter, the cause is close to home. 

“When you grow up on an island,” said Clark. “Getting involved with a cause like this is kind of a no-brainer.” An avid surfer and musician, Clark saw the opportunity to pair emerging bands with the Surfrider Tour as a means for the community to work together to feed the arts and clean the waters.

Battle of the Band takes place on Saturday, May 15, at Mulligan's On the Blue. Tickets are $10 and are only available at the door. Be sure to get there early, as the bands need your support starting at 7 p.m. All ages.

The Throwndowns play on Maui during their Kona Brewing Company/Surfrider Foundation Tour on Saturday, June 12, at Mulligan’s On the Blue. All ages.

Also, Ola Shaw recently informed me that the Battle of the Bands event is now going to be an ‘80s theme party. Totally tubular! Tim Dawg will be spinning ’80 music all night during breaks and beyond, and I'm hoping to see fans sport some rad leg warmers and big bangs. And fans, don’t be shy to dress in your best Material Girl get-up or George Michael jeans— it’s going to be a blast!

Bands that dress in sweet '80s gear get an automatic five points, so musicians have a chance to enter battle with an advantage already.

The competition includes a intriguing mix of singers/songwriters and bands, from genres all across the board, and players from variant generations.

Eleven Maui finalists made the cut for this weekend's Battle of the Bands—Vibewell, Soul Package, Sebrina Barron, The Mobius Project, The Unintelligents, Sounds Of Addiction, I-nology, Stephanie Lomeli, Minor Setback, Mary Jane Babashoff and Moth.

I've had the pleasure of experiencing a few of these performers, and can already guarantee a stellar evening of entertainment. I'm stoked to hear what the others I'm unfamiliar with have to offer, as there's nothing quite like discovering great new music in your own "backyard."

The top two groups will be chosen as winners. And, with an influential panel of judges that has its fingers on the pulse of music on Maui and beyond, contesants better "bring it" to the stage, or at least gather heaps of fans to cheer them on.

The runner-up will open for the grand prize winning band that will open for The Throwdowns during the June tour date on Maui. Both bands will be in all radio ads for the Kona Brewing /Surfrider show.

Once again, the top act of will receive the grand prize of a three-song recording deal with We Are More Studios, a photo shoot with Justin Orr Photography and CD cover design by Scott Johnson at Dogtowne Design. Awesome.

Also, the winning band will be consulted and produced to have radio ready songs. One of the three songs will be pitched to all major radio stations across the isle.

Email or visit for more information.

Do not miss this chance to be a part of Maui’s music community and experience its array of up-and-coming players, or rediscover some quality acts that you haven't heard in awhile.

Best of luck to all the competitors, and much love to all who took the initiative to organize the event.

Rock on!



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