Classic rockers Foreigner, smoked barbecue, and the four local Blade Battle of the Bands winners headline The Andersons 26th Annual Northwest Ohio Rib-Off, which kicks off today and runs through Sunday at the Lucas County Fairgrounds.
After a month of online voting, followed by judged performances at the Red, White, KABOOM July 4 celebration, folk singer-songwriter Crystal Bowersox, country group George Damron & Buffalo Ridge, R&B band BUCK69, and rock-pop outfit in theory were selected as this year's Battle of the Bands winners.
The bands were among more than 145 performers competing in four categories: solo/duo, jazz/blues/R&B, country, and rock/pop.
As a reward, Crystal Bowersox, BUCK69, and George Damron & Buffalo Ridge perform today, with in theory opening for Foreigner Saturday night.
Bowersox is a singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist who is joined by Frank May on six-string electric bass. Bowersox and May have been friends for years but didn't start performing together until three months ago.
"We didn't ever rehearse," she said. "Our first show, we just played and it worked."
Bowersox performs between 4-4:30 p.m. today.
BUCK69 began as a father-son acoustic duo in 2000, and a year later, as a full band, released its first CD, "When She Whispers Your Name," which was a Grammy finalist for contemporary blues album.
Tom Clawson, BUCK69's singer and rhythm guitarist (his son Alex plays lead and rhythm guitar) describes the band's sound as "Bob Seger walking into a juke joint with Jonny Lang to talk about Eric Clapton."
BUCK69 performs between 5-6 p.m. today.
George Damron was a solo performer looking for more attention when he formed George Damron & Buffalo Ridge a year ago. It hasn't been an easy go for Damron and his band, which performs a mix of the modern country-rock, traditional country and the occasional rock cover. The group has gone through three drummers and four lead guitarists, including the guitarist who performed at Red, White, KABOOM.
At this point, George Damron & Buffalo Ridge is "pretty much able to just plug in a lead guitar player as we need them," he said.
George Damron & Buffalo Ridge performs between 6:30-7:30 p.m. today.
The group in theory has been around for nearly three years, born of a creative desire by its five members to quit playing cover songs and play music of their own.
Drawing from a wide-range of influences, including Metallica, AC/DC, Nirvana, and the Dave Matthews Band, in theory's music is "kind of all over the place," said Aaron Konwinski, the band's rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and newest member.
The group's music was good enough to impress Foreigner, which approved in theory as its opening act at the Rib-Off.
"I'm a big classic rock guy," Konwinski said. "To open for somebody that has a fan base that huge, and that they OK'd us to open for them, is pretty awesome."
In theory performs at 7:30 - 8-30 p.m. Saturday.
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