Going to a concert, there are three things that determine whether or not the performance is worth it – stage presence, crowd connection and sound.

A performance without stage presence is bland.

It lacks the adrenaline that makes a concert the exciting thing that it is.

A band should not only look like they are confident and well put together, but also be enjoying themselves and playing off one another – having fun together to create an overall sense that in that moment, this is exactly where they want to be.

Crowd connection is important because a concert is about more than just the music; it’s about the experience.

When you go to see live music, you want to feel like they are there to play for you, not for themselves.

Whether it’s through their interaction during songs (touching hands, eye connections, jumping out into the crowd) or the moments they take to tell a story and share their experiences with the crowd, people want to connect.

And last, but certainly not least, they have to sound good.

Unfortunately, some bands just never master the ability to perform live. It’s difficult, they don’t have access to the same equipment as when they’re recording, or the ability to stop and redo when they mess up. As much as they have to know and be able to perform the songs, they also have to be good at making it look like things went as planned when they do screw up. They need to be able to take into account the size of the venue, the way the acoustics work, and how much their music is going to echo over the vocals, then mesh it all together to come out with a sound that’s just as good or better than their recorded stuff.

These three things were just part of what was considered to pick the winner for Battle of the Bands in Barrie, hosted by Ontario Christian radio station Life 100.3. Eight bands fought it out in front of a panel of judges for the chance to win 20 hours recording time and perform at Kingdom Bound 2011.

While the crowd patiently awaited a performance by To Tell to close up the night, they rocked out through the competition, giving each group full support on stage.

It was not a surprise however, who was voted the winner at the end of the competition.

Early into his performance, d.u.t.y. — a rapper from Oshawa, Ontario — already had the crowd completely engaged. Heads bobbing and fists pumping, the crowd dove head first into his performance, which was filled with adrenaline, strong lyrics and every attempt to wow the crowd.

Bravery clearly was not a struggle for d.u.t.y. as he took the stage by himself armed with nothing but a microphone and his iPod.

His performance was engaging and he slid comfortably into a strong connection with the audience, keeping them pumped for whatever he presented next.

Though the acoustics in the small gym made it difficult to understand his words, d.u.t.y. took the time to go over the lyrics of his final song before singing it.

Powerful, heartfelt and easy to connect with is the easiest way to describe the song.

At the end of the night, when he was announced the winner, he remained in complete shock, and the expression on his face showed total astonishment.

Personally, what rocked this guy’s performance for me was how genuine he was and the confidence that just radiated out of him. He was up there doing what he loved, and his passion shone throughout the entire performance.

When a rapper can get me dancing, you know they’ve got to be pretty good.

To hear some of d.u.t.y.’s music or see tour dates, check him out on MySpace.

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