Sound Off, the Northwest’s launching pad for the young and musically talented, is underway at Seattle’s EMP Museum, and a local group is competing in the battle of the bands.
On Saturday, Gig Harbor band Mystery Machines will perform in a semifinal round. One winner from each of three semifinals (along with one wild card band) will compete in the finals on March 7 in the museum’s SkyChurch.
The event is considered the Northwest’s premier 21-and-younger band competition. More than 100 bands vied to make the semifinals, EMP’s Anita Woo said. The 12 semifinalists hail from as far away as Eugene, Oregon, and represent punk, folk, indie, rock and hip hop.
Mystery Machines falls into the punk and grunge rock category, said band drummer Austin King, 19. His 18-year-old band mates are Peter Wellman (guitar), Jacob Paul (vocals) and Alec Bukata (bass). All are current students or 2014 graduates of Gig Harbor High School.
The group formed in the summer of 2013. They’re influenced by classic punk bands along with some R&B, indie and pop. King cited Descendants and Jack White as favorites.
The band chose Mystery Machines as a moniker because they all have an appreciation for the cartoon “Scooby-Doo.” “And I’m always doing Scooby and Shaggy impersonations,” King said.
The band’s favorite place to gig in Gig Harbor is The Gig Spot, King said. They also play El Corazon in Seattle and at Olympia’s Le Voyeur.
“Our hope and dream is to start touring this summer or next. We just want to play shows with awesome bands,” King said.
Most of the members are considering musical careers. King is already pursing his at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California.
The four finalist bands will play high-profile performances and win gear, studio time, radio airplay and one-on-one consultations with music industry professionals, Woo said.
Competing with Mystery Machines on Saturday will be Seattle indie/folk group Emma Lee Toyoda, Vancouver rock/indie/hip-hop group Righteous Minds, and Seattle hip-hop group One Above Below None.
“I think we have a good chance on making it to the finals,” King said. “We are just so happy to be playing at Sound Off. We’re going to try the hardest to bring the roof down and rock it.”