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Microsoft contest sets opening act for downtown concert

Microsoft will have a little music to celebrate the June 20 opening of its new Pioneer Place store. The software giant is hosting a free concert with Weezer and a local band.

The lucky local band that opens for Weezer will be selected though an online contest. Last week, the top 10 bands in the contest were posted online, and fans were given the chance to vote. Voting ended last weekend.

The winning band’s name will be announced Wednesday, June 19.

by: COURTESY OF ECSTATICS - The Ecstatics were among the Portland bands to make the top-10 list for the Microsoft promotion. The contest winner gets to open for Weezer on June 21 at Pioneer Courthouse Square.Eli Hirsh and his band, The Ecstatics, were among bands from Portland that made the top 10. “We’ve been listening to Weezer since we were 6 years old,” Hirsh says. “It would be incredibly fun to share the stage with them in our hometown.”

In anticipation of the Weezer show, customers will be allowed to line up outside the Microsoft store, along Southwest Yamhill Street between Third and Fourth avenues, to receive free tickets to the show Wednesday night, June 19. When the store opens at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 20, the first 200 people in line will get a ticket to see the concert, and another ticket that not only gets them into the concert, but also into a meet-and-greet with Weezer and the winning local band.

The next 1,000 people in line will also get two tickets to the concert, set for 5 p.m. Friday, June 21 at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

“We’re always looking for unique ways to engage the local community and get them involved in the grand opening activities,” says Jonathan Adeshek, a sales and marketing executive with Microsoft. “Portland has a bustling music scene, and the ‘Battle of the Bands’ contest is a great way to showcase local talent and drive excitement for the grand opening.”

For BeginOliver, a three-piece indie pop band from Corbett, this is not the first battle of the bands’ high ranking. In 2006, band members entered the same kind of contest to open for Bon Jovi, and even though they did not win, making the top 10 was an honor, a sentiment they still feel today.

“Even if we get smashed in the voting, it’s still going to be a success for us,” says Joel Detter, a vocalist and guitarist with the band.

According to Detter, they will not be taking this opportunity for granted. “It could do some great things for you,” he says. “People get big in the weirdest ways.”

One Portland band in particular stood out as being different. Paradise, a band with a garage, mod soul and slightly post-

punk sound, features Tamar Berk, who plays farfisa and sings vocal.

Berk is the only female member of the top 10 bands.

“I have no idea if it will affect the voting at all,” she says. “But I guess you never know.”

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