My checklist for this — one of the most exciting weeks in Reno music history:
• Off Beat Festival all-access wristband ordered. Check.
• Forté Awards ticket ordered. Check.
• An Ace Frehley Halloween mask. Check.
That last item may need explanation . . .
The inaugural Forté Awards — Reno’s first Grammy/Tony-like gala, recognizing the winners in online voting for local musicians in 19 categories (as well as actors, dancers, comics and magicians in 20 other categories) — is Thursday (Nov. 3 in case you’re reading this after the fact) in the Grand Sierra Resort’s Grand Theatre. A glitzy, professional production is planned, complete with emcee, image-magnification screens and nifty statuettes. Celebrity presenters will be on hand (including a few hit-making rock and country stars and industry executives with impressive credentials) but most will be local luminaries (radio DJ’s and so forth). Since organizers apparently were desperate, I’ll be presenting the award for the combined category titled, “Metal/Thrash/Punk.” I’ll be wearing a suit, but I’ll step up in character as much as possible.
If you’re a true “Forté” — a fan of Reno-Tahoe entertainment — and haven’t bought your ticket yet (range is $20 to $40), go to www.ticketmaster.com, or call the GSR box office (789-1115) or stop by in person. The event begins at 7 p.m.
Thursday also is the kickoff night for the second annual Off Beat Arts & Music Festival, modeled after Austin, Texas’, South By Southwest. I missed the first one last year — I was at a music conference in Los Angeles — and was pleasantly surprised after my return to hear how packed clubs were and what a great vibe pervaded.
This year’s four-day OBF is much bigger, and I coughed up the $129 (plus $17.61 in fees) for the all-access wristband. You can order your all-access wristband, or a general-admission wristband ($69 plus fees — good for all shows except headliners at Cargo Concert Hall), or just buy individual tickets to the Cargo acts at www.offbeatreno.com. (You also can pay at the door at venues unless the show is sold out.)
The website illustrates how much planning and professionalism is involved in OBF. Schedules and band profiles are clearly, cleanly listed. While you won’t find big-name acts as you would at SXSW, you may just fall in love with a relatively unknown but rising band. As OBF publicist and co-partner Loren Condron told RGJ reporter Jenny Kane: “We want to introduce you to bands that you will see at Lollapalooza and Outside Lands in a few years.”
You may just get turned on by a local band with this potential. Of the 100-plus bands or solo artists on the festival slate, a third hail from the Reno-Tahoe area. In all, the acts represent the spectrum of major genres of popular music.
A few local bands and solo artists have been on my radar as possessing the hard-won chops and the extra star factor that could move them on to big things in a few years — much bigger than peeps in the BLC give them credit for.
I can’t wait to pick up my wristband at Whitney Peak Hotel this Thursday afternoon. Then I’ll be off to the GSR for the Fortés.
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SUBMIT YOUR ORIGINAL SONGS: There’s so much musical talent in the BLC that I’ve decided to once again oversee the annual Gazette-Journal roundup of top original songs from local artists. This seventh edition will be published in December. To review the songs, I’ve assembled a panel of judges that includes local radio announcers, a New York-based music critic formerly from Reno, a prominent local sound engineer who’s worked with major artists, and a Reno hotel-casino entertainment executive.
The roundup provides a glimpse at the talent of songwriters hereabouts, and introduces impressive artists whom readers might not know of.
One to three original songs can be submitted by the Nov. 25 deadline. Info is at this link: http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2016/10/12/best-local-music-send-submissions/91976638/.
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