TERAJI: Battle lines drawn for local bands

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Cole Salles performs June 18 at a free concert in a local


Brace yourself for impact!

was how rapper Cole greeted the crowd with at last year’s Battle
of the Bands in Gilroy. The audience erupted in applause when Cole
came onstage and began his rapid-fire delivery. The audience joined
in and sang along:

The sky’s the limit and we shall rise from the ashes.

“Brace yourself for impact!” was how rapper Cole greeted the crowd with at last year’s Battle of the Bands in Gilroy. The audience erupted in applause when Cole came onstage and began his rapid-fire delivery. The audience joined in and sang along: “The sky’s the limit and we shall rise from the ashes.”

When Cole Salles – known simply as Cole – comes onstage, electricity happens. Even when he was holding back at a June 18 performance at the Gilroy United Methodist Church, the flow of energy could be felt throughout the room. His stage presence is like that of a caged panther.

One night at the Fifth Street Firehouse Bar and Grill, he went up and took the karaoke microphone, did his own music and blew all the other performers out of the water.

I thought to myself, “Ah, now the real talent has arrived.”   

Cole started a band at 18 called Galvanized Minds. His album “Clockwork” is coming out soon. But Cole is not about himself. He wants to highlight and support as many other local musicians as possible. To that end, he is bringing back the Battle of the Bands to the Longhouse Restaurant this summer, after being co-promoter of the super successful Battle last summer which brought out more than 100 spectators every Tuesday night for four weeks.

“It’s just kids wanting to have a good time,” said last year’s winner, J.J. Hawg. “We’ve got hundreds of rock fans here in Gilroy.”

This year’s Battle of the Bands is not to be confused with the other Battle of the Bands currently in progress at the 9Lives club in Downtown Gilroy.

Last year the show was a collaborative effort with a local recording studio known as Studio 222, but this time Cole is the sole organizer, booking agent, promoter and host. He is taking on a huge project. So what drives a young man of only 21, who is about to become a first time father, to put so much time and effort into something that pays him, well, um … nothing? 

“There is more and more music happening locally,” Cole said, “Anyone who knows me knows that there is nothing that brings a sillier smile to my face than live music. It is all for the love of the music.”  

One thing that is different this time is the audience will have a vote. The panel of three judges will be incognito and present somewhere in the audience. The bands have no idea who they are, and the audience will have the deciding vote when their response is tallied with that of the judges.

Because the audience vote is crucial, the bands will really play to the people, Cole said. He has handpicked each band and feels it will make for an even stronger competition this time around.

Cole has arranged for prizes for the top three bands in the competition. Top prize is $800, $250 gift card donated by The Music Tree of Morgan Hill and four hours of studio recording time at WiseGuy Productions in Morgan Hill. Second prize is $200, a $100 gift card and two hours of studio time. Third prize is still being determined, but will most likely include the opportunity to headline a concert.

“I am pretty stoked,” Cole said. “We’ve got punk, folk, indie, reggae, metal, hip hop, rap and rock ‘n’ roll. Every night is going to be a great show. There are no bands that are ‘iffy.’ They rate really high across the board. Any given night any band could win.”

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