Friday, June 6, 2008

Dave FM names Search-a-Roo winner Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 7:22 PM

As if Auburn and UGA needed another rivalry.

Auburn alums Hightide Blues and University of Georgia grads The Reeds will compete in the ultimate battle of the bands Saturday for their chance to share a stage with the likes of Pearl Jam, Metallic, Widespread Panic and Jack Johnson.

“I share my room with these bands,” said Josh Reid, leader singer of The Reeds. “They’re on my walls as posters. I can’t even imagine playing with them."

The Third Annual 92.9 Dave FM Search-a-Roo contest scoured the city for the best local band to send to Rolling Stone magazine’s “Best Festival,” Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

The winner will be chosen after the bands perform live at the 2008 Virginia-Highlands Summerfest.

“It’s crazy. We’re just normal guys, not hardcore rockers or anything,” said Paul McDonald, lead singer of Hightide Blues. “We’re just college kids. And now we’re getting a shot at Bonnaroo; there are just no words to describe it.”

92.9 Dave FM is the only radio station that runs a contest specifically for local bands, said Zac Altheimer, marketing director for Music Allies, the radio marketing agency that handles promotions for Bonnaroo.

So why Atlanta?

Dave FM has partnered with Bonnaroo since the beginning, and Atlanta is a top-notch market for heavy ticket sales and incredible talent, Altheimer said.

This year, more than 300 musicians entered, said Will Davis, marketing director for Dave FM.

Longtime Bonnaroo lovers, Hightide Blues band mates were already planning to trek to Tennessee as fans of the festival when they heard about the contest through drummer Scott Rollins' girlfriend.

With only the mastered copy of their new CD, Love Come Easy, Manager Bowe O’Brien dropped off a raw, unofficial copy to Dave FM studios.

Reviewing three songs from each band, the Dave FM staff narrowed the number to 25 based on song style, quality of sound and performance ability, Davis said.

Music Allies then chose the final four, looking for “simply good music,” Altheimer said.

What made Southern rockers Hightide Blues and jazz artists The Reeds stick out from other submissions?

Both bands have a unique sound that brings something different to the festival, he said. They’ve got strong fan bases, and they’ll keep going after Bonnaroo."

Bonnaroo is its own genre,” he said. “It’s not a jam band festival; it’s not a southern rock festival. It’s its own thing. So we wanted a really fun band that will make you dance and have a really good time."

The rest was up to the fans.

The bands swarmed Facebook, MySpace and listservs with desperate pleas for votes to score a 30-minute slot at Summerfest, beating out other Atlanta locals Ocha la Rocha and Groovestain.

Together since 2006, Hightide Blues stacks quite the resume, having shared the stage with Sister Hazel, Graham Colton and Sara Bareilles, played more than 150 shows in 2007 and will tour with Benjy Davis Project this summer.

Saturday will be The Reed’s first live performance after months of recording their new CD, Bleed Lust. Reid and violinist Ben Austin have been a duo since high school, but the full band wasn’t added until December 2007.

Both bands will use Saturday’s slot to test out their up-and-coming records.

“I was shocked,” Reid said when he heard The Reeds were chosen. “We usually don’t win contests. We never even make the top 3 at Eddie’s Attic [Songwriter’s Open Mic], so we never thought we’d get this.”

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