The 27th year of competition will look much as it has has in the past, with a panel-selected group of local bands putting their music in front of new crowds and competing for a robust prize package, including a performance spot at Low Key Arts’ acclaimed Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival, a performance spot at Thursday Night Live at the Griffin in El Dorado’s revitalized Murphy Arts District, a performance spot at Jacksonville’s FestiVille, a performance spot at the Arkansas State Fair, eight hours of studio time and artist development at The Hive Studio, a gift certificate from beloved farm-to-table eatery Trio’s Restaurant, cold hard cash and more.
Subsequent semifinal rounds begin at 8 p.m. Thu., Jan. 31, Thu., Feb. 7 and Thu., Feb. 14, with four bands competing for the title of semifinalist in each round. The final round to determine the showcase winner takes place at Rev Room on Fri., March 1.
Stay tuned to Rock Candy here on the Arkansas Times website and on Facebook for more about our judges, video of the performances, the prize package, the semifinal rounds as they conclude and to see who advances to the final round on March 1.
Inaugurated in 1993 by the now-defunct Spectrum Weekly and handed over to the Arkansas Times around 1997, the Showcase’s first-ever winner was Substance, a Towncraft-era band from Sherwood whose members would later join Big Cats and Red 40, and whose track “Do Nothing King” appears on an LP compilation (also named “Towncraft”) documenting the ’90s punk scene in Little Rock.
The list of champions thereafter is as follows: Ho-Hum, Pokerface, Ashtray Babyhead, Big Cats, Big John Miller & The Direction, Brenda & Ellis, Big Silver, Mojo Depot, Runaway Planet, Salty Dogs, Grandpa’s Goodtime Fandango, The Odds, Hannah Blaylock & Eden’s Edge, Cooper’s Orbit, 607, Velvet Kente, Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth, Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Holy Shakes, The Sound of the Mountain, Mad Nomad, Ghost Bones, The Uh Huhs, Dazz & Brie and Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo.