Parker Macy Blues
Parker Macy Blues
Meranda Carter

OC Music Awards Live Showcase Finalists Announced

This morning, the OC Music Awards announced the finalists for Best Live Acoustic and Best Live Band for 2012. The contenders, who were picked by four judges, including the Weekly music editor Lilledeshan Bose, were among a slew of bands who competed in venues across the county during the past seven weeks. The eight finalists will perform in the final two showcases before the main awards ceremony, to be held at the City National Grove of Anaheim on March 3.

While we don't want to cast aspersions on the credibility of this year's judging panel, especially our dear Lille, we have to wonder about the wisdom of this year's final cut--so many radio-ready, uninspired deriva-bands. It would have been nice to see a couple other really deserving acts in the lineup. 

Before we start picking things apart, check out the finalists after the jump:
Best Acoustic Band:

Tully Wilkinson
Parker Macy Blues
Moonsville Collective

Best Live Band:

Midnight Hour
Slime Kings
Robert Jon & the Wreck
Railroad to Alaska

Fan vote winners included songstress Kacie Yoshida and Fullerton rock band We are the Arsenal.

Bands were scored on musicianship, originality, song composition, stage presence and audience participation. 

Tully Wilkinson, with his pop-folk stylings, is radio ready. The Slime Kings took us back to 1996 with their lively ska revival, and Railroad to Alaska, who won last year for Best New Band, crushed night five with their take-no-prisoners metal assault. 

But there's more than a couple names that induce involuntary eye brow raising with their absence. In the best acoustic category Huntington Beach's Honeypie received the judges' cold shoulder yet again. While the best live band category sees no mention of Death Hymn Number 9. The latter's performance at showcase number five was an inspired display of zombie screeching and raucous garage stomp which raised chaos to the level of high art.  

While both bands played with competence and displayed formidable stage presence, they also fulfilled the originality category by forgoing the mediocrity quotient so many in the competition adhere to. 

In the case of Honeypie, this originality comes in the form of singer Trisha Smith's incredibly resonant voice. Though a gift, no one else in the competition has comparable pipes.  

Meanwhile, Death Hymn embodies the spirit of what made rock music the most revolutionary form of expression in the world at one time: unbridled danger. Best of all, they didn't stand on stage wearing newsy caps singing Bob Dylan songs (yawn!).

We also find it a bit disconcerting that classic rock influenced Jeramiah Red weren't selected for the finals. As I said in an earlier review, I'm not a huge fan of the classic rock style, but JRed's performance was one of the most visceral of the competition, it's a shame they weren't they didn't make the cut.

There are those who say the whole thing is rigged, that it's a locally grown circle jerk rife with nepotism and a lack of vision. We don't know about that. But the fact that KROQ and Farmer John has its greasy paws all over the thing speaks volumes. We get it, corporate radio wants to get their hands on the artist that's going to attract sponsors. Still, it would be nice if the OCMAs would throw the underdogs a bone.

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