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Battle of the Bands

A contest where two or more musical bands (usually Hard Rock or Heavy Metal) decide who is the best. In Real Life, this is usually determined by a judges panel, but in fiction, it often gets turned into an actual battle, especially when Magic Music, Instrument of Murder, and the literal Power of Rock get involved.

A staple in Music Stories, being the only type of direct conflict that can take place between musical bands. Everything else is either indirect competition (selling more records, gathering more concert audiences, etc.) or off-stage brawls.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Films — Animation 
  • The entire plot of My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks involves the Dazzlings turning a friendly school musical showcase into this; it is an example of both the proverbial (in the form of the overall battle), and the literal (with the Dazzlings and the Rainbooms using magic-enhanced attacks against each other in the finale). The Hasbro website includes a promotional game for the movie that's actually titled "Battle of the Bands", providing the page image. Also the very title of the Dazzlings' first song in the film is "Let's Have a Battle (of the Bands)":
    Battle!
    You want to win it!
    Let's have a battle!
    Battle of the bands
    Let's have a battle!
    We'll go on in it
    Let's have a battle, battle, battle!
    Battle of the bands!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the Battle of the Bands between Sex Bob-omb and the Katayanagi twins turns into an epic showdown between Energy Beings representing each side.
  • In School of Rock, the one with Jack Black, the climax of the movie is a competition which is called, well... Battle of the Bands.
  • In Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure they dream about being in the school's battle of the bands. In Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey they end up at the battle, battling the Evil Robot Usses' band.
  • Blues Brothers 2000: The film ends with a Battle of the Bands between the title characters and the Louisiana Gator Boys. Unusually for this trope, the title characters LOSE, but band leader Elwood Blues is on good terms with the Gator Boys' leader, Malvern Gasperone (portrayed by Blues legend B.B. King) after an earlier encounter with him, and so the two bands decide to team up and play one more song together to close out the film.

    Literature 
  • The Graeme Base book The Worst Band in the Universe.
  • In Rock Star the protagonist's band gets into a nationwide Battle of the Bands, but the protagonist himself is grounded from playing because he's failing math. When his replacement gets injured he does it anyway and the band wins, which leads to him running away from home to become a rock star. It doesn't work out.
  • King Dork: Tom & Sam's band enters the school BotB and sucks on purpose.
  • Goosebumps: My Hairiest Adventure has the main protagonists as part of a band, who are preparing for a Battle of the Bands at their school when the weirdness begins. They win, in part due to their "special effects": the hero starting to turn into a dog during the performance.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Portlandia had a the "Battle of the Gentle Bands" skit, a battle between an acoustic band, a band that didn't use microphones because they don't want to hurt insects, two women kissing a large bell, and the winner: a woman blowing on some hanging feathers.

    Video Games 
  • In Brütal Legend, the Battles of the Bands are called "Stage Battles" and are actual battles, with music and instruments used for indiscriminate murder.
  • There is a Wii game called Battle of the Bands.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The CatDog episode "Battle Of The Bands" had the titular duo enter said competition with Cat playing guitar and Dog playing the drums. However, due to Cat's insistence that they play really, really soft, they were nearly booed out of the competition, until the Greases showed up, having mistaken the competition for an actual battle, which results in CatDog finally winning the Battle of the Bands.
  • The 1935 Disney Silly Symphony "Music Land" involved a Saxophone from The Isle of Jazz having a Romeo and Juliet romance with a Violin from Symphony Land, which culminates in the two different styles having an all out musical artillery duel.
  • In Episode 6 of Detentionaire, A. Nigma High has one, featuring several acts of questionable quality alongside the school's own rock band, the Dudes of Darkness. When Lee accidentally and indirectly causes the DoD's frontman Cyrus to break off, it's up to him to get the band back together in time to perform.


Band ToonMusic TropesBig Rock Ending
My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow RocksImageSource/Animated FilmsThe Nightmare Before Christmas

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