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Big Easy ‘Battle of Bands’ Lineup Posted

The cable-industry lineup of musical volunteers who’ll rock on for the sake of aiding the New Orleans recovery includes a famous singer’s niece, at least one pair of tuneful brothers and a certain sports-team-owning billionaire.

The Cable Show, the annual cable industry convention, in New Orleans next month, will close out with an American Idol-style performance competition on Tuesday, May 20, at the Morial Convention Center.

Rather than pay for musical entertainment at a closing party, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association opted to recruit musical volunteers from the cable industry, a business replete with garage musicians. NCTA official Mark Bell has been coordinating things.

The NCTA now has posted extensive information now about the bands signed on so far, including musicians, sponsors and even logos.

One of the bands, it needs be said, is the Paul Allen Band. Allen, the Charter Communications chairman and well-known Jimi Hendrix admirer, has on several occasions sat in with cable-engineer-type bands at parties during cable events. He plays guitar, natch.

A Time Warner Cable-backed group (“More Cowbell”) includes singer Julie Simon. The video-product executive is Carly Simon’s niece and a skilled chanteuse in her own right, as attendees at the CTAM Digital Conference in New Orleans in 2003 will recall.

And the group backed by Fox Cable Networks and TVN (dubbed “One Night in NOLA”) features the Riley brothers, Sean of Fox and Jim of TVN. Rumor is U2’s The Saints Are Coming is in the repertoire.

The NCTA site says there will be celebrity judges, including Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, the former Doobie Brother and Steely Dan session ace. More to be named later.

The emcee is Bill Bellamy, host of TV One comedy competition series Bill Bellamy's Who's Got Jokes?

Judging will be 50% by the celebrity judges and 50% by the audience using a live text-messaging system. Bands will perform three-song sets.

The event starts at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20. One ticket comes with a Cable Show registration and additional ones can be purchased at $50 each. Proceeds go to Cable Cares, which will be helping to pay for vital recovery projects in New Orleans, such as rebuilding playgrounds and restocking libraries.

The NCTA added on Thursday that the event would be Webcast, courtesy of Octoshape, for those who can’t attend or want to contribute online.

Sponsorship contributions are also being sought -- Motorola and Cisco Systems have kicked off the corporate giving by agreeing to become “platinum stage” sponsors, which includes naming rights for the two main stages.

Here’s a full currently available list, cribbed from the Cable Show web site in the order they appear there. Sponsors are in parentheses:

The 5th Revision (Scripps Networks): Doug Klein on drums, Jeza Kepler on vocals, Spencer Cordan on piano/keyboards, Stewart Pack on bass and Phil Fuson on guitar.

The Frontline (Charter Communications): More to come.

Full Mesh (Juniper Networks): Robb Foster on vocals, Richard Russman on guitar/vocals, Eamon Loftus on guitar, Brad Ryan on drums/vocals and Bill Seeger on bass.

More Cowbell (Time Warner Cable): Julie Simon on vocals, Lyndel Navarro on guitar, Bill Helms on guitar/vocals, Howard Pfeffer on bass, Scott Ramsdell on drums and Kent Vermillion on harmonicas/cowbell/vocals.

One Night in NOLA (Fox Cable Networks/TVN Entertainment): Sean Riley on guitar, Jim Riley on bass, Nick Constantinides on guitar, John Malkin on guitar and Carlo Hume on drums.

The Paul Allen Band (Vulcan Studios): Paul Allen, Terry Davison, Garry Thompson, Andrew Nelson and James Clark.

The Solutions (Arris): Mike Caldwell on lead guitar, Mike Dorff on rhythm guitar/lead vocals, Tony Dutra on bass, Tony Davis on drums/vocals, Alex Swan on harp/vocals and Vickie Marti on percussion/vocals.

TV Rejects (C-SPAN, CableFax): Mike Grebb on guitar, Tim Hermes on drums, Tommy Bullough on bass and Rob Kennedy on keyboards.

Xpanded Bandwidth (Cox Communications): More to come.