MerryGold’s payoff: Hard Rock Battle of the Bands champs

Tahoe Onstage

Jillian Secor and the Placerville bluegrass band MerryGold won Hard Rock’s Battle of the Bands.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

MerryGold is from Placerville but its members like to call home “Old Hangtown.” On Saturday at Lake Tahoe, the bluegrass band won another honor it can hang its hat on.

Mic Smith

Mic Smith was the Tahoe representative.


MerryGold won the Hard Rock Rising Battle of the Bands competition at the finals on May 20 in the Vinyl showroom. Last year, it won a SAMMY — A Sacramento-Area Music Award — best band in the Americana/Alt-country genre.

Led by sweet vocalist Jillian Secor, MerryGold is familiar to Tahoe music fans. The band has played twice at Live at Lakeview. Judges criteria for the Battle of the Bands was musicianship, marketability, originality and vocals.

Vault7 of Boise, Idaho, opened the night with a high-energy set of heavy metal. Brian “Bamm Bamm” Hoyt, who has a goatee and a Flying V, displayed serious chops on the guitar, while Dennis Goodman was a human metronome on the drums.

Solo guitarist Mic Smith’s audio setup threw him for a loop and his reaction did not help his cause. Nevertheless, the hometown player was awarded second place.

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe has a big summer of music planned. Starting Memorial Day Weekend, there will be live music on the Guitar Plaza outdoors. Primus will perform an outdoor concert on Tursday, Aug. 17, and another show — which would be among Tahoe’s biggest of the summer — could be announced any day.

Tahoe Onstage

Nathan Polnow, left, and “Bamm Bamm” Hoyt and Vault7 are in Tahoe onstage at the Hard Rock.
TIm Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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