Of all the local battles of bands, none generate the storm and stress that the now-annual Road to Bonnaroo series does. If you don’t believe us, check some of the comment threads at our music blog, Nashville Cream — this has got to be the only concert series in town with conspiracy theorists. (Yes, we cast a vote. No, we’re not in cahoots with some wicked cabal that hates your favorite band.) Competing for a coveted slot at this year’s Bonnaroo festival, eight acts per week — these three free shows serve as special editions of the regular 8 of 8th series — fight it out for three tickets to Manchester glory. And this year’s inaugural lineup is worthy of all the attention-grabbing antics, overly social networking and vote-seducing glad-handing that will surely ensue: Singer-songwriter Courtney Jaye, glam-rock auteur Majestico, smooth-spitting MC Chancellor Warhol, shoegaze heroes Heartbeater, surf-rock heartthrob Evan P. Donohue, funky rockers Kink Ador, Southern rockers The Kicks and ace guitar-slinger Tyler Bryant kick off what is sure to be another crazy, heated run of shows. Free
If you want to get to know tonight's combatants a little bit — is Hearbeater still the only band to throw down some serious propaganda? — the Mercy Lounge blog has posted a blurb and some media for each of them. The order of the bands won't be determined until right before the show, so be sure you get there early and get your ballot. Democracy counts (for half the final score, in this case)!