CP+B Tops Battle of Ad-Bands

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To the list of musical moments that have taken place at the temple of rock and filth that is CBGB, history may now add a hardcore fiddle-rap version of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by Ironic Trucker Hat, a band made up of staffers from Miami agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The band took top prize at the first ever Battle of the Ad-Bands Wednesday night, an event organized by New York music, sound and post shop Fluid and co-sponsored by Creativity. The show brought together ten bands made up, to varying degrees, of ad agency personnel from around the country. Bands played to a packed house as music fans, band supporters and the industry curious turned out in force to see and hear what multitalented agency creatives and producers do in their spare time.

With its impressive musical skill, stage presence and command of the pop cultural zeitgeist, Crispin Porter + Bogusky-backed Trucker Hat won over the crowd and the BoAB jury, which included Maria Milito of Q-104 FM, Smithereen's drummer Dennis Diken, Entertainment Weekly senior editor Jason Adams and Jim Hanas, editor of the Creativity E-mail and AdCritic.com. The judges awarded second prize to the melodic power-pop combo Poster Child from Merkley Newman Harty and third place to Macho Grande, FCB/New York's answer to both Iggy Pop and the B-52s.

But the night belonged to Crispin Porter + Bogusky and ITH, who demonstrated a firm grasp not only of musical performance, but of their collective day job: image creation and manipulation. The band's over-the-top performance was capped by vocals from agency music producer Bill Meadows that ranged from rapid-fire rap to solid singing to rock god screech without faltering. The band whipped the crowd into a frenzy by appropriating string-inflected favorites including "Come On Eileen," "Live and Let Die," as well as a rendition of "Under Pressure" which nodded to both the Vanilla Ice and the David Bowie/Queen versions.

"All of us were surprised at the incredible performances by the bands, especially given the fact that for several of the bands it was their first appearance before a live audience, and at a rock palace like CBGB," says Fluid's David Shapiro. "For many of them, it was a dream come true. I was really impressed by the original music performed, as well as the innovative covers of popular songs. There was a lot of talent up there." The event raised $10,000 for the New York City Public Schools' "Salute to Music" program. "We will definitely be doing it again next year," says Shapiro. (Teressa Iezzi)

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