Nation & World

Check out the fair's Battle of the Bands

There's something to get excited about at the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo -- and it's not holding your sweety while listening to Air Supply try to recreate their magic in Making Love Out of Nothing at All. It’s the fair's Battle of the Bands on Aug. 22. And its collection of local acts is about the best lineup since the Meltdown Musicfest in June.

Headlining and playing host to the event is Plants Eat People, a surf-punk (they like to call it death lounge) outfit that just recently won a battle of the bands themselves. It's worth going to see them tear up the stage alone, but there's also a healthy mix of other bands that will compete for a $500 prize.

Here's a look at the line-up:

- Blue is Cold: Country-rock-roots band that put on an excellent live show. The rhythm section of John Reed and Dean Kramer are particularly fun to watch.

- Rheem: This just-over-a-year-old, high-energy rock band says they sound like a cross between Hannah Montana and Stephen Hawking. But trust me, they sound more mature than this.

- Stupid in Stereo: Psychobilly band that formed last year to play covers of punk songs at the Parkade Bar and Grill in Kennewick. Young, yeah but they've also got an album on the way of their own material.

- Andrew Bethke: A singer-songwriter with a smooth voice but music with a rough grunge edge. Don't get him started on Oreos.

- The Slooches: A rockabilly trio from Milton-Freewater that's just as much Chuck Berry as they are the Ramones.

- Folding in: More-straightforward alt-rock with a dash of metal. They're right at home playing at Ray's Golden Lion or the Parkade.

The show is free with paid fair admission and gets going around 2 p.m.

DJs unite

To put this issue to rest, my recent not-so-glowing comments about DJs got some attention from professionals across the country and even in our own backyard. They all shared the same sentiment that every profession has its bad apples and that my opinion was, in effect, unfair. DJs are 0-for-2 with me, and that hasn't changed -- no matter how many great ones are out there. But Kennewick DJ Ron Montgomery did make some good points when I talked to him this week.

First, being a DJ is an incredibly hard job in managing almost impossible expectations. For instance even when a terrible transition happens in the opinion of the crowd, there's a good chance it was ordered up by the people getting married. But the DJ takes the rap. Second, finding a DJ isn’t necessarily high on the bride's budget priorities. Meaning that if there’s to be scrimping it's likely to come in finding someone who will just get the job done for the right price.

"They don't remember the chair covers or the cheese and crackers. They remember the entertainment," Montgomery says.

He's right about that.