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St. Petersburg's Burning Tree reaches semifinals of 7-Eleven Battle of the Bands; will open for N.E.R.D. in New York

If you had to pick a band from the Tampa Bay scene that might be plucked from obscurity to open for a national headliner in New York City, Burning Tree would probably not be it.

That's no slam against the St. Petersburg reggae-rockers, who play a tight, fun-loving breed of beach-rock in the vein of Sublime, 311 or Slightly Stoopid. But even they didn't think they had a shot to win a nationwide Battle of the Bands contest sponsored by 7-Eleven.

"I filled out a profile for the band on the Slurpee Nation website, and then I pretty much forgot about it," said singer Dave Rothe. "Three weeks later I got a phone call from them saying that we were one of 12 bands selected out of 900-plus entries."

And just like that, Burning Tree is about to start living the fast-paced 7-Eleven lifestyle. The company is flying the band to New York, where they'll open for N.E.R.D. at the Fillmore at Irving Plaza on Aug. 16. Other finalists will get to open for Train in Los Angeles, All Time Low in Chicago and B.o.B. in Dallas.

This is a nice boost for a band that's finishing up a new EP titled Oppressive Heat, which they'll follow up with a full-length album in 2011. It'll be even better if they win -- the grand prize for winning is $10,000 and the chance to be featured on

Want to help them get there? After their performance in New York, head to Slurpee's Facebook page (yes, really) and vote for Burning Tree. The group with the most votes in each region will go on to Dallas, where they'll have three days to produce a music video, which fans will also vote on.

We'll update you on the contest when it gets closer. Maybe Burning Tree will fare better than St. Petersburg's John Q., who fell just short in a similar contest sponsored by Land Shark Lager.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:20pm]


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