Xconomy’s Battle of the Bands

Uncategorized Posted Jan 25, 2008 by metropolis

One of the most iconic musical moments from my childhood is from a video of Aerosmith playing “Dream On” before a crowd of thousands holding up lighters. It was a visually stunning moment that elevated an already great song to new heights. As if that song needed any help inducing goose bumps.

The scene at Xconomy’s “Battle of the Tech Bands” Tuesday night was visually reminiscent of Aerosmith’s performance of the quintessential rock ballad, except rather than lighters in the air, the venue was lit up with the digital glow emanating from BlackBerries, iPhones and Treos. While the display of LCDs instead of fire has been an emerging trend at concerts for the last few years, this was different. These attendees weren’t holding up their devices in hopes of propelling the acts on to extended jams, they were checking email.

This is no fault of the bands, which were all extremely talented and put on great performances. It is just what happens when an entire audience is comprised of techies. The event, hosted by Xconomy, a Kendall Square based news site that focuses on local business and technology, featured six bands from Boston area technology companies competing for a grand prize of studio recording time. The cell phones mentioned above ended up playing a crucial roll in the event as all the voting for the bands was done via text messages.

The CHEN crew went in to the evening hoping it would be a great networking event but it quickly became clear that it was going to be difficult without yelling. The Middle East Downstairs is small and gets to be pretty raucous when electric guitars are plugged in and a drum kit is being whaled on. Regardless, everybody there managed to mingle around the room while they enjoyed a buffet of delicious Middle East food and plenty of complimentary libations as the drink tickets seemed to be floating around like confetti at a New Year’s party.

Highlight performances included the eventual winners, “Deadbeat Darlings” from Akamai, who came off as far too talented to be competing in a Battle of the Bands and “The Souled Out Superband” from Bose, which strung together an exciting set of cover songs that had a roomful of techies as close to dancing as you could ever hope to get them. Regardless of winners, it was clear to everybody there that these bands were having a blast playing for us and were relishing the opportunity to wear sunglasses indoors and channel some Mick Jagger (or Aretha Franklin as the case may be). Ultimately, I was most impressed that all these people were capable of creating live music while my creative musical ceiling is replicating prerecorded music with a plastic guitar (Guitar Hero).

The only real disappointment of the night was that my co-workers and I didn’t win either door prize. I’m not sold on the Zune, but I would have been very excited to exit with a free Rock Band bundle. Oh well, there is always next year and this was definitely an event worth returning to.

Other articles on the event:


Boston Globe