This year, the VFW started inviting bands to play month-long residencies every Thursday night in the back room of the bar. Not only that, but the band-in-residence gets to curate each show with their own lineup each week. The result has been a surprising collection of out-of-town punk bands, bands reunited from the 1990s Missoula music scene, impromptu bands, ukulele bands and one-man- and one-woman-bands. What have the bands-in-residence gotten out of it? A lot of practice. The Juveniles, who were already pretty solid to begin with, got better and better each time up to the final night when they were pure magic playing “Guy in a Bathrobe” and other creeping garage rock tunes. Some nights are slower than others. One night, the dudes of Total Combined Weight, who recently did their band residency, played to about three people: one hippie twirling and two people making out. No matter. Playing shows once a week means you get to hone your craft. TCW made up for it the next week when they played Minor Threat covers to a surging crowd of shirtless moshers. Who needs practice when you’ve got the VFW bar for a month?
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)