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Battle of the Bands

On May 30th, the Genesee Theatre will open its doors to seven local musical talents. Waukegan may be closer to Wisconsin than Chicago, but four of the seven contest finalists are from the Windy City. That should ensure quite a parade of concert-goers making the trek from the city to the northern suburbs. And that’s important because the audience, together with a panel of judges, will determine the winner. Thirty-seven local musical acts began the completion. Seven remain to fight it out in one full night of the Battle of the Bands.

‘103.9 The Fox put out the call for bands to compete,’ the Genesee Theatre website explains, ‘Thirty-seven bands heard the call and submitted their best songs. Songs were submitted and the fans voted. The final tally now has the top seven preparing to move on to the Genesee Theatre.’ The seven bands that will battle it out at the Genesee on May 30th are:

  • Captain Coopersmith (Algonquin, IL)
  • Driven Under (Chicago, IL)
  • Faith in the Fallen (Chicago, IL)
  • Man the Mighty (Chicago, IL)
  • Michael Riser (Chicago, IL)
  • Shepherd the Fallen (Woodstock, IL)
  • The Clowder (Elgin, IL)

How it works

On Saturday evening, May 30th, each of the seven final contenders will have a ten-minute slot to play two or three songs for the judges and audience. When that first round is complete, the two best bands will be selected. The final two will then compete head-to-head for the grand prize. Each of the two finalists will perform one last song for the 2,400 audience members who will vote with their applause to select a winner.

In addition to bragging rights, free publicity and an exciting, memorable evening at the Genesee, the bands are competing for more tangible prizes as well. The winning act will receive a $1,000 cash prize. Another $1,000 will be donated to the winning performer’s favorite charity on behalf of the band, the Genesee and 103.9 FM The Fox. And finally, the winning performer wins a guaranteed slot to perform at the 2015 Milwaukee Summerfest.

“The Battle of the Bands is a renewed commitment by the Genesee to shine the spotlight on local talent,” said the Genesee Theatre’s Colleen Rogalski, “The Battle is just the beginning. Our newly formed series, titled ‘Awakenings’ will feature local talent who are in the midst of climbing their way to fame from all facets of entertainment.” The Awakening series already includes a night dedicated to local stand-up comedians in October, an evening of acapella in November, and a night of country music featuring three local groups next month.

More from the Genesee Theatre

Built in 1927, the Genesee Theater is woven into the history of Waukegan. Vintage black and white photos of the old venue document America’s past from the roaring 20’s through today. After opening with the film Valley of the Giants in December 1927, the Genesee peaked in the 1950’s when the theater added additional seats, new décor and a modern sound system.

In the 1980’s however, the economic decline coupled with the birth of large multi-screen cineplexes, forced the Genesee Theatre to close its doors. In 1999, the people of Waukegan saved the theater by purchasing the building. In 2004, the Genesee re-opened once again and it’s been a beacon of local theater and a jewel for the community ever since.

If battling bands and local music isn’t your cup of tea, don’t fret. The Genesee has something for everyone. That includes the theater’s 2015 summer film series. On various Thursday evenings throughout the summer, the Genesee Theatre will show some of the most popular modern movie classics. A prime example comes in the form of the series’ first offering on Thursday, May 14th. Celebrating the movie’s 40th anniversary, JAWS will kick off the summer film fest.

Other upcoming shows at the Genesee that are sure to be quick sell-outs include Engelbert Humperdinck next week, late night talk show host and comedian Craig Ferguson next month, comedian Jay Leno in October, and comedian Brian Regan in December. Sprinkled in between those headlining acts are evenings at the Genesee featuring films like American Graffiti and Back to the Future, ballet performances, magic shows, comedians, music and more.

For more information, visit the Genesee Theatre’s website at



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