What is the "Carson City" sound?
A mélange of world-class fiddling, symphony music and the comfortable strum of the cozy local coffee-house circuit? Maybe, but as far as rock 'n' roll goes, there's nothing exactly setting siege to the city.
Without a warm body to dissect, a rock radio station or any real standard-bearer of sonic tradition, anything from "casino pop," "lite-beer karaoke" or even the sound of relentless hammering emanating from home construction all seem to be valid, albeit not very satisfying answers.
Troy White, owner of Cornerstone Music, wants to change all of that. The veteran rock producer, who has worked with acts ranging from Velvet Revolver to Reba, is determined to build a local music scene. And he's got plenty of infrastructure in place - 96-track recording capability, quality public address equipment, professional rock lighting and an indoor stage to show off local talent - a virtual triage for up-and-coming musicians.
And he's bringing it all to Saturday's all-ages "Battle of the Bands" at the Upstage Center, hoping to spark Carson City music into a bolt of lightning with a shape - something to put the state's capital on the musical map. Something to work with.
"I'm not playing around," he says. "This is a going to be a big-time show," says White. "The coolest in the valley, and that's counting Reno," he says, promising the show will be more "show" and less "high-school assembly."
White figures there's a lode of untapped local talent to be mined.
White says he's filling a void left open by the casinos. "They can bring in a big-name band at cost and make up the money from gamblers. But not everybody is 21," he says. "The kids have no place to go."
White's intention is to create a regular local music showcase, a drug and alcohol-free environment that parents should feel comfortable sending their kids to. "We've got plenty of security," he says. "We want to let the kids rock out and have a good time."
Ten bands will compete in Friday's contest.
White insists it will be an absolute high-quality show. To that end, he's attracted the faith of sponsors from McDonald's to Allstate Insurance.
Between bands, White says, a huge screen will show excerpts from the movie "School of Rock."
Planning for the event started in April.
This event will double as a one-year anniversary of Cornerstone Music.
"We've grown so much in that year," he says. "Yet another sign of a music scene ready to launch."
"With a little hard work and a little love," says White, "Carson City could blow up and be the next big thing."
The forum holds about 300 people and offers elevated seating behind a stage-side mosh pit.
"It's going to be family-oriented," he said. "The music may get loud and hard-core, but it will be hard-core with integrity."
n Contact reporter Peter Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1215.