Artvoice's Battle of Original Music

In Memory, Jonathan M. Cheman, 1978 - 2015

We learned on Monday that Jon Cheman, the songwriter/singer/guitarist in the band Ruthless Tom passed away suddenly in his home in Arcade, NY, on Sunday, March 22. He was 36.

Mike Perks, the band’s drummer, informed us of the sad news via email as the polls were still open in this week’s Artvoice BOOM competition. “It actually makes us want to win the vote even more just for him. He was so excited and happy to be included. He was so looking forward to hearing his song on the radio last night too, but didn’t get the chance,” he wrote.

Ruthless Tom did win this week’s matchup, by a very wide margin.

According to Perks, “Jon had a love for music. He and his various band members produced countless hours of music over the years. He had finally realized his dream of recording in a studio and was about to release his first EP “Shadow View” with his band Ruthless Tom. Jon loved his family and friends more than anything, though. He was a compassionate friend who only wanted what was best for everyone, and for everyone to be happy.”

We at Artvoice would like to express our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and bandmates. Memorials can be made to the family.

For a full obituary, visit:

Congratulations Round 2 Winner, Erica Wolfling!

Congratulations to Erica Wolfling for receiving the most votes at our Round 2 Live Showdown this past Friday, February 27th. With the win, she'll move on to our finals in June!

Special thanks to The Proles, The Beggar's Best, and Wacko Fest for their performances - and thanks to all the fans for braving the cold to come out and listen, vote, and support local music!

Our weekly on-line battles resume this week. Round 3 begins on Thursday, March 5th, where you'll find our next pair of contestants right here. This is only the half way point of our contest, so it's still anybody's to win and we'll be featuring a lot more bands right here and in Artvoice.


In addition to our $5,000 cash prize, we're pleased to announce two more prizes! We have confirmed, for the second year in a row, this year's BOOM grand prize winner will also earn a spot at 107.7FM's live concert at Canalside this summer. Last year's winners, Folkfaces, performed at 107.7's Kerfuffle along side national acts such as Bear Hands and Big Data - stay tuned for more details on this year's gig.

New this year, we've also got prizes for runners up! So while one band will walk away with our grand prize package, the other three bands who make it to our grand finale in June will not leave empty handed. Each will receive recording studio packages from Chilliam Studios good for 15 hours of studio time, valued at $750. A big thanks to Chilliam Studios, prior BOOM contestants The Heavenly Chillbillies and Gabrial Mayer for graciously providing this prize and helping us look out for all of our BOOM finalists!

We're not finished yet, and may have even more in store to announce shortly - so check back! It's not too late to join the fun, we're only half way through the contest. It's quick, easy, and free to sign up - but there's nothing to gain by delaying - so get your band's registration in ASAP!

BOOM is Back for 2014-2015!

We're gearing up for our ninth annual installment of the Artvoice Battle of Original Music (or BOOM! for short.)

BOOM takes place over approximately 6 months from December 2014 to June 2015, and will consist of four rounds and a grand finale. The grand finale is a winner takes all event where we'll crown a new BOOM champion and they'll take home a prize package including $5000 cash. For more information on the format of the BOOM contest, take a look at the How BOOM Works page.

Band Registration Remains Open

As of November 2014, the band registration is open. We welcome Buffalo area bands who play original music to sign up. Each year is a clean slate, so it doesn't matter if you have participated in BOOM in the past, we'd love to have you sign up again and take a listen to what you've been up to. If you have signed up in the past, you will need to sign up again for this contest - we don't carry old registrations over to the new year's contest. Registration remains open throughout the contest, but bands that sign up early in the contest naturally have more opportunity to be picked to participate.

Make sure to review the Contest Rules before signing up, and it's a good idea to read the Registration Help for some pointers on how to put your best foot forward.

Dates to Remember

The official start of the contest - our first weekly battle - takes place December 4th, both here on the web, and in Artvoice. The quarterfinal live shows will take place at Nietzsche's and are: January 16, 2015 (Round 1), February 27 (Round 2), April 10 (Round 3), May 22 (Round 4). The grand finale will take place at The Tralf on June 5th, 2015.

Congratulations BOOM 2014-2015 Winners, Folkfaces!

Emerging from the second week of the first round of the 2014-2015 contest, Folkfaces went on to win the Round 1 Live Showdown back on January 17th at Nietzsche's, earning them a slot in the finals. On June 6th they received the most votes at the Tralf during our Grand Finale show, and took home the $5000 prize. As part of their prize they also receive a slot at 107.7FM's Kerfuffle in July, 2014, where they performed along side national touring artists Bear Hands, Big Data, Bleachers, Brick + Mortar, Cage The Elephant, The Crystal Method, KONGOS, and Semi Precious Weapons.

A huge thank you and job well done to our other finalists, Pine Fever, The Naturalists, and The Heavenly Chillbillies. Combined, they set a new BOOM attendance record at the Grand Finale, with over 400 fans showing up in support.

BOOM would not be possible without our vibrant local music scene, including bands and fans alike. So in no particular order, thanks goes out to the over 60 bands who signed up for this year's contest, the 32 who were selected to participate in on-line battles, the 10,000+ fans that casted votes on-line throughout the contest, the 16 bands who played 4 live quarterfinal shows and all the fans who attended, and of course our four finalist bands and everyone in attendance at the Grand Finale. Special thanks to Alternative Buffalo 107.7FM for sweetening this year's prize pot, and to Nietzsche's and The Tralf for providing us a space to showcase our local talent.