I Passed Judgment

It’s similar to passing gas in that a lot of hot air is involved

Das 2bers
Das 2bers

Last night I judged the hip-hop category and all-encompassing “rock” category at the 2007 NM State Fair Talent Showcase. Aside from the totally non-celeb me, that hip-hop judging panel was seriously intimidating, including Brian Hardgroove, the bassist for Public Enemy and Dizzy of Ugly Duckling fame.

I don’t mean to be such a bragger. I guess that I was just giddy that my ass was in a folding chair alongside their asses in similar folding chairs with wrinkled sheets of paper scotch-taped to them reading “RESERVED FOR JUDGES.” We sat behind a folding table, drank water from conical paper cups, and rated people on musical ability, material, stage presence, audience response and overall ability.

Spank frontman flips out.
Spank frontman flips out.

I’m not gonna lie. It’s pretty hard to judge music numerically (on a scale of one to five). But I feel confident the winners deserved to be winners. For hip-hop, it was the 2bers with their live backup band and funky, jammy feel. Except, what was with the nylons pulled over two of the members’ faces? It was definitely strange alongside mostly positive lyrics. Either way, those guys know their game for sure.

The Big Spank stole the show in the rock category, which was judged by local music industry folk. I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t The Big Spank a kick-ass ska band from, as the spankers are sure to note, the South Valley? Why, yes. They are. That “rock” category was kind of bizarre. First up, a ska band. Then, an old-school, barbanger rock band, Black T-Shirt Monday. Next, an awkward blues-ish ensemble from Santa Fe, Big Bad and the Wolf (whose website I cannot find for the life of me). Then it was Elu, electronica pop fronted by two divas.

The prize packages were great, including $500 and a bunch of useful services from around the state (photos, CDs, time in studios, mics, etc.). Gratz to the winners by category:

Country/Folk/Singer-Songwriter: Boris and the Saltlicks

Traditional/World/Ethnic: The Next Chapter

Blues/Jazz/Gospel: Le Chat Lunatique

Hip Hop/Rap: 2bers

Rock/Alternative/Indie: The Big Spank

Keep your eyes peeled, fellow musicians, for the next showcase submission deadline. It’s a good thing the New Mexico Music Commission is doing.