Battle of the Bands, Thursday nights at the Buffalo Rose in Golden, provides local bands and musicians a chance to compete for top honors in a performance setting. The weekly event is part open-mike night, part rehearsal, part vaudeville cabaret. At its most heated, it's a musical variation on American Gladiators. Both professional and amateur acts are welcome to sign up and participate, so the talent pool can ebb and flow or stagnate like a sinkhole. Either way, it always promises to be an entertaining evening, one in which audience members can speculate on who might become the Next Big Thing to come from Colorado and who should stick to day-jobbing. Participants, by the way, compete for more than $1,500 in prizes, which only heightens the pitch of the battle cry.