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Black Bottom Lighters

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"Nuclear" Black Bottom Lighters Live at Copper Blues.

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Glendale-Based Reggae Outfit Competes Through Online Vote And Live Performances For Chance To Play The Hard Rock Rising Music Festival In Rome, Italy

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By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

May 2, 2014 — Glendale’s own Black Bottom Lighters are currently involved in the contest of their career. The reggae/rock six piece is competing for the opportunity to play in front of 40,000 people at The Hard Rock Cafe’s first ever festival in Rome Italy.

“I was more nervous for this show than I had been in a long time because we had something to lose,” said lead singer Ryan Stilwell about the preliminary rounds of the competition. Stilwell and his compatriots had to survive a voting round, as well as two rounds of live performances.

The Hard Rock Phoenix ran four consecutive weeks of competition on Thursday evenings in March. The first three Thursdays had three bands each play a 15 minute set and a winner was determined by judges. The fourth Thursday saw the three winners go head to head with 15 minute sets. The winner was also determined by judges.

The band had to be more strategic with their song selection than they are used to being because they were given such a short set. “It’s like a story, we only had 15 minutes. So we needed an intriguing beginning, a middle with substance, and an epic ass ending,” said Stilwell. Their set list included “Stuck In Arizona,” “Carousel”, “Be Kind Rewind,” and they ended with “I’m Still Here” which comes as a free download if you vote for them in the contest. “We also went with the songs our fans know to get them singing,” added the band's rhythm guitarist Taide Pineda  

Though BBL definitely played the songs the humble band still attributes much of their success to their loyal, and large, fan base. The band said that on both competition evenings they packed The Hard Rock to capacity with BBL fans, and the turn out made all the difference. “The fans make us play better, it all has to do with the fans. They give us more energy, and we send it back out at them,” said Stilwell.

Currently BBL is involved in the final voting round against 79 other bands. This round will trim the competition down to 25 bands before the final judges panel picks the top three out of those bands. A vote for BBL also comes with a free download of their single “I’m Still Here,” from their upcoming album 2 or 2,000.

To vote, visit http://reverbnation.com/contests/3447/artist/864570

“I feel like we have a damn good chance at the top 25. We are confident, but still humble,” said Stilwell. With bass player Jose Aquino adding “ I’m super confident but I don’t think we have it in the bag. We are 50/50 now, we are filling out papers to get our passports but we arent packing our bags yet.”

As of publication the Black Bottom Lighters currently sit in the top five for votes.

Jeff Moses a senior contributor at Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at jmoses@moderntimesmagazine.com.
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