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Manteca band 4th in Battle of the Bands
Manteca band Faith and Bullets was awarded the Flairey Award on Saturday at the 51st annual Hayward Battle of the Bands at Chabot College. - photo by Photo Contributed

There are no trophies for fourth place. 

Sorry guys. Thanks for coming. Have a safe trip home. 

But, if you rock just hard enough, the emcee of the longest-running Battle of the Bands in California might be able to wrestle a little something up just to show you that you’ve got his respect. Not so much a consolation as an “I like your style” token.

No, Manteca’s Faith and Bullets didn’t get to raise their hand on Saturday night at Chabot College as the 51st champion of the annual rock-a-thon. 

But 35-year-long event emcee Mick Flaire picked the band as the “Flairey” award winner. 

It’s always tough for Central Valley acts that have to go up against their “big city” equals. 

“They’re a band from the valley,” says the guy with the upturned nose. 

By the time the dust settled Saturday night, the members of Faith and Bullets had managed to win over not only the people in the audience – they knew that their brand of music was good for that – but the man who had seen some of the best and brightest the Bay had ever seen. 

For more than five decades the Hayward proving ground has been a place where the best bands in Northern California – a large majority of which are from the Bay Area – compete against one another to take home the title and the bragging rights that come with earning the judges’ nod. 

The list of winners reads like a who’s who of some of the most pioneering musicians in Rock-and-Roll – Deep Purple, Y&T, Faith No More, Mr. Big, Metallica. And while they shouldn’t be laying out their outfits for Cleveland just yet, Faith and Bullets is now a part of that list. 

Following in the footsteps of Modesto’s Peaceable Jones, who finished third in 2007, and Ripon’s French Cassettes, who won in 2008, Faith and Bullets – comprised of vocalists Steve Mayhem, lead guitarist Rikk Alexander, rhythm guitarist Cody Sparkz, bassist Abel Lynch and Drummer Ryan McKinley – plan on using the experience to increase their visibility and take their flashy style of rock music to anybody that’ll listen.

An ode to the heavy-metal style of the 1980s – the big hair, torn jeans and in-your-face attitude that made bands like Motley Crue, Cinderella and the Black Veil Brides some of the hottest acts in music – have helped the young group of musicians achieve a cross-generational audience. 

The event was held on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Chabot College Performing Arts Center.