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Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands 10

Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands 10

Warcon

For the past decade the Warped Tour has had a tiny stage sponsored by Ernie Ball called (surprise!) the Ernie Ball Stage on which local bands at each tour stop compete for a place on the bill. Like the tour itself, this "battle of the bands" contest has grown into a hugely popular national event for up and coming bands whose exposure at just one stop on the Warped Tour can sometimes be the extra push the band needs to get to the next level in their burgeoning career. For those of you festival attendees who have walked past the small stage on your way to the larger ones, here's a best-of disc with 14 of the most popular acts from last year's summer tour. This disc came out a year ago, and it's interesting how many of these bands are now recognizable names.

Mayday Parade (from Florida), The Flatliners (Canadian punks now on Fat Wreck Chords), and Karate High School (San Fran emo) are all names I've come across at some point recently. This is not to say that these bands, or all of the others on this collection, are any good... well, The Flatliners have got potential. They play ska punk that's hornless and sped up faster than fast, heavily pulling from the third wave revival of the mid '90s.

Amongst the rest of the disc, few bands hold my ears. Detroit's soulful/hip hop creation, Natives of the New Dawn, have a unique sound and their song stands out brightly on a comp otherwise crammed full of Warped approved emo and nu-metal. Hometown Anthem is Jersey emotional pop punk and sure to be a teen pleaser, as are the I-feel-like-I've-heard-this-before boys from Michigan, The Weakend.

If these are the best bands Ernie Ball was able to dig up last year, the future of music is in trouble.

Battle of the Bands: www.battleofthebands.com