Stumping for the teenage vote

In case you don’t know, the Jammies (an event promoted by this paper) are essentially a teen battle of the bands. This year, 22 young bands will play five showcases at various all-ages venues around town, hoping for a spot in a larger show at the Crest Theatre. During the performances, audience members fill out an anonymous form, rating each act on a score of one through five under the following categories: entertaining, songwriting, performance and interaction with audience.

Dramatic, angst-ridden lyrics aside, there were some superb talents at the opening night of the Jammies Battle of the Bands, held at Club Retro in Orangevale. Some of these teenagers outplayed, outperformed and frankly outshone most of the music veterans around town. There was a certain hunger to these performances—a combination of desire and nervous energy that blasted off the stage with the ferocity of a punk-rock show.

Of course, being a teenager means being a member of an ongoing popularity contest, and in some respects, the Jammies are no different. Standing near the unmanned SN&R table at the show, I saw several young people write review sheets before the first act had even finished—rating their favorite band a score of perfect fives across the board and the other performers twos or threes. Others filled out multiple rating cards, essentially stuffing the ballot box to ensure their contender got more votes.

Fortunately, these ballots only count for one-fifth of the total vote that determines which bands make it to the Crest. The other four votes come from the members of the Jammies selection committee—all of whom have been involved with the Jammies since its inception. So, in the end, talent will win out over this week’s popular clique.

It’s a refreshing thought, because it hopefully will spell success for folks like singer-songwriter Kyle Hernandez. His performance on electric guitar was excellent, but he lacked the popularity-contest vibe of some of the bands. (After all, a band composed of four or five people is going to have more friends and family members collectively—and hence more ballot stuffing—than a solo performer.)

Check this paper for more information on future Jammies shows, held every weekend this month as the bands battle it out for spots at the Jammies Night of Contemporary Music on March 5.

In other news, photographer Jay Spooner tells me that Hosh, singer and avant-banjo freak of acousto-electric meltdown Moth Spy, has a new project. Cuadrillos will play this Thursday, January 20, at the Distillery. Hosh is always up to interesting work, so it’s probably worth a listen.

Popular Latin-funk band Raigambre has been advertising for a new singer, the implication being that Sam Miranda has departed the band. Check for news or e-mail to set up an audition.

The nonprofit group Songsalive! is an international songwriters organization devoted to the “nurturing, support and promotion of songwriters and composers worldwide” (according to its Web site). The Sacramento chapter holds monthly showcases at The Fifth String music store, located at 930 Alhambra Boulevard. Craig Kincaid and Dave Baldwin will host the next showcase on Saturday, January 22, with featured performers Stacy Raskin, Steven Andrew Kacsmar, Mike Strasser and Lindsey Kate Hawkins. Visit for more information.

And finally, after lots of negotiation, local punk legend Kevin Seconds has been tapped to host KWOD 106.5 FM’s weekly punk-rock show Anarchy Lunch. Seconds’ show debuts on January 28 and will air every Friday from noon until 1 p.m.