VACAVILLE — From soul to rock ‘n’ roll, the message was clear: Vacaville has talent.
More than a dozen musicians made it to Wednesday’s finals of the Singer-Songwriter Competition, which elicited roars of cheers and applause inside the newly restored Theatre DeVille.
“I thought it would be so cool to play here one day,” said Vacaville resident Jim Rowdy, who used to pass the old downtown theater while it was closed.
The rock musician and his 14-year-old son Jimmy impressed the judges with their fast-paced performance of “Mad Mortician” – a song about “checking out chicks in an emergency room,” he said. With the younger Jimmy slapping – and standing atop – his upright bass, the duo stole the show and emerged as the overall winners – a result Jim Rowdy described as “freaking crazy.” The father-and-son duo will now get to open for Vacaville’s reknown punk band Cheating Daylight at Theatre DeVille March 26.
“This is one of my big dreams to play this place,” Jim Rowdy said. “I didn’t think that I’d be playing in it with my son.”
Hosted by the Vacaville Business Improvement District, the fifth annual competition featured almost 100 musicians who vied for a spot in Wednesday’s finals. A total of 12 performers advanced to showcase their skills atop the Theatre DeVille’s lofty stage, playing for eight judges who were hidden in the audience.
“The talent we have in our community is incredible,” said emcee Bob Vollmer, aka “Downtown Bob.”
Vacaville resident Jamie Havok was motivated to enter the competition by Jim Rowdy, her boyfriend, and found herself in second place.
“I feel like I’m having an out of body experience – it’s really cool,” she said.
The four-piece rock band Angel Avenue tied for third with soulful soloist Larz De’Lago. The band of high school freshmen played “Stay”, a song they wrote “way before Rihanna,” lead singer Vincent Walsh said before their performance.
The Vacaville group formed Angel Avenue about one year ago but were “friends for a long time,” said Wyatt Todd, of Vacaville High. Todd plays electric guitar, Chris Kenaston, of Justin Sienna, plays drums and Nathan Betita, of Vanden, plays bass.
“We thought we gave it our all and we put it all out there,” Todd said.
Walsh, a student at Will C. Wood High School, said the band got some advice before the show.
“A contestant said to us, he said, ‘Don’t be rock stars, be musicians, it’s all about the music.’
“We’re really grateful,” he said.
Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.