One of my pasttimes living in the valley is “drinking and drawing,” which has all the fun of drinking and driving, but usually doesn’t end up in multi-vehicle collisions. Usually. And when me and a friend were looking to do a bit of that, we weighed our options and decided the third week of the Happy Valley Showdown, at the Elevens in Northampton, was where to go.

The Happy Valley Showdown is a Battle of the Bands for people who hate to have to see Bands Battling. I hadn’t been to a traditional one, because it took this long to kick my young adulthood habit of playing Final Fantasy games all the time, but it offered stuff that I like. A whole range of performers, from Pinter Moment, a talented fellow plinking away sad songs on a guitar to great effect, to the campily dramatic new wave showboating of Daniel Ouellette, to the Robert-DeNiro-from-Taxi-Driver-mohawk-sporting Idiot Savant who put together some wonderful synth music by himself, and played in two other bands.

The rules are simple: a band has to play four original songs and one cover, in whatever way they please, and like any good democracy, the people who were there vote for their favorites.

LOLFM did a cover of the Beach Boys.

It’s the same song, but no one would mistake this for the Beach Boys.

The grand prize, over time, is to win some precious recording time at Slaughterhouse Recording, as well engineering and mastering, but there’s still a ways to go for that: there are two more rounds with different bands on Sunday the 23rd and Sunday the 30th. The finale on the 13th is going to determine the winner, and if the performances are as strong as the ones I’ve seen, it will blow minds.

For more information, check out the Showdown Facebook fan page.