March 19, 2009

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No contract, no problem
Traces David wins independent artist competition
By Dana Unger dunger@hippopress.com

Manchester pop-emo-rock band Traces David was named the winner of Boston’s No Contracts Needed Rompetition on Saturday, March 7, beating out a roster of more than 30 New England bands, including local favorites The Jessica Prouty Band and Dusty & The Know.

“I think what was so great about it was that we’ve played in battles of the bands where it was all one genre,” Traces David lead singer Dan Kennedy said in a March 10 interview. “But with this, we felt that we were playing with bands that were each so different from each other, and that was great.”

The Queen City band, whose members list artists like Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Led Zeppelin, Thursday, and John Lennon among their musical influences, has been playing together for the last three years.

“We did a CD last spring and added our guitar player Bill and a new drummer this year,” Kennedy said. “Soundwise, it’s really changed things. It’s added lots of depth.”

The band heard about the contest through musician and promoter Dave Crespo, whose music promotion outfit, The Ospercian Company, created the competition to promote young local independent bands breaking on the music scene.

One stipulation of the contest, according to the official contest press release, was that performers must be independent artists “working with their own means to play and promote themselves.” That means no music label representation.

“You had to be an independent band working off of a label to do it,” Kennedy said. “It was all about running with the idea that you don’t need to be on a label to do a good show.”

The contest began in mid-February and took place over several days, each of the bands performing at various Boston venues. Each act was given a 25-minute slot to perform and was scored by a panel of judges, as well as through audience and on-line votes. Judges’ votes counted for 100 points, audience votes were 10 points, and on-line votes were 5 points. The highest score a band could receive was 115 points.

After several rounds of elimination, the finals were held on Saturday, March 7, at The Middle East. Traces David scored 100 total points, beating out finalists Ashley Rhodes, The Culprit Policy, Sugar Mama, Just Machines, and Eyeball Kid, taking home a $500 prize and the Rompetition trophy.

Hot off their win, Traces David is now recording a six-song EP of new material and will play the Rompetition all-ages celebratory theater show on Saturday, April 18, at 7 p.m., at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Mass. Tickets cost $10 in advance ($12 day of show) and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com. Playing alongside the band will be Aloud, Rudeboy Riot, Dave Crespo and The After Party, and Chris Vuk’s School of Groove Band.

Kennedy said that competitions like No Contracts are creating a renewed interest in the local, all-ages music scene for up-and-coming artists, something he thinks is sorely needed

“On a personal level, I feel like for a while there was a big music scene when I was in high school a few years ago,” Kennedy said. “There were a lot more all-ages venues where a bunch of original bands started playing. A lot of those venues like Rocko’s are reopening now and getting better turnout, so that’s great to see.”


Traces David accepting the Rompetition trophy. Courtesy photo.

Traces David
When: Saturday, March 21, at 8 p.m.
Where: Ground Zero, 48 Allenstown Road, Allenstown
Tickets: $10 at the door.
Hear a few of the band’s songs at www.tracesdavid.com