1. Archive

Concert in store as bands compete

When 1,000 or so bikers finish their ride Saturday from Tampa to the Harley-Davidson dealership near Homosassa Springs, they'll be in a mood to party.

Which is a good thing because the dealership staff will be waiting for them with the finalists in the Battle of the Bands contest, along with cook-out style food and beverages.

Even more sonic blows will be delivered by heavy metal guitarist Matt LaPorte, who is currently with Jon Oliva's heavy metal band, Pain.

The Battle of the Bands is organized by radio stations Citrus 95.3 FM WXCV and Fox 96.3 WXOF. The winner will get cash, musical goodies and a recording session.

The bands were selected by a Citrus 95 screening committee from about 25 entries.

"The quality of these bands just amazed us," said Cyndy Bradshaw, a radio station staffer who helped select the finalists.

The bands cover a wide range of music. Time Jam, a 10-piece horn band, plays funk music and classic rock by Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears. Rebel Pride plays Southern Rock.

"These are not your typical garage bands," Bradshaw said.

LaPorte's own side band, a power trio called the Enablers, will perform a set of classic rock at about 2 p.m.

"We'll be doing some Hendrix, some Allman Brothers, just jamming," said LaPorte.

LaPorte said he played one show in 2004 with Savatage, a Florida heavy metal band that gained national status. It was one of the band's final concerts and he was brought in to bolster their stage show, he said.

Savatage was formed in 1983 in Florida by brothers Jon Oliva and Criss Oliva. Criss Oliva was killed in a 1993 car crash while en route to Livestock, a heavy metal festival held near Zephyrhills.

The band's early CDs - Fight to Rock and Hall of the Mountain King - led to opening slots in arena tours for bands such as Megadeath in the late 1980s and to a guest hosting stint on MTV's Headbanger's Ball, which covers the heavy metal music scene. One of Savatage's more recent recordings was 2001's Poets and Madmen.

Savatage is on hiatus because of some legal issues, but Pain, headed by Jon Oliva, is actually Savatage in-waiting, said LaPorte.

"We play Savatage songs in all our concerts," LaPorte said. "When Savatage is able to re-form, it will be this band."

Jorge Sanchez covers arts and entertainment in Citrus County. Call 860-7313 or e-mail


Battle of the Bands, guest appearance by Matt LaPorte and the Enablers and biker party starting at 11 a.m. Saturday at Harley-Davidson of Crystal River, 1785 U.S. 19, between Homosassa Springs and Crystal River. The event is also a fundraiser for the Jessica Lunsford Foundation.