The Sault Humane Society Battle of the Bands (April 20th, 2012)
Prizes: Along with trophies for the top 3 bands, the first place band received studio recording time, and a hat & headphones from battle sponsors, while the second place band received a gift certificate to the Delta Waterfront Hotel. Nine extra trophies were also given in varied categories, including four for individual musicians and five for collective performance elements, with all 12 trophies featuring custom artwork and designs relating to their category.
Competitors: Non-competitors Sykotyk Rampage aside, nine varied local rock bands (down from 12 initially and 10 the night before) gathered to compete at this battle, most of which were making their battle & Grand Theater debuts, including 7 metal-leaning bands. The competing acts included local hardcore standouts As It Stands, death metal bands The Bear Hunters & The Valentine's Day Massacre, Central Algoma death metal notables For All That Is Lost & Inhuman Methods, classic metal quartet Late & Loud, metal/punk rockers T-Rex Manning, acoustic duo Tea With Lincoln, and veteran rock band Wishbone.
Results: With a tie for first place and a three way tie for third place, the judges had their work cut out for them, but they awarded Late & Loud a narrow first place win, breaking the tie with the second place As It Stands. The judges also chose Wishbone to take third place, breaking their tie with For All That Is Lost & The Valentine's Day Massacre, who were officially considered as tied for fourth. The Bear Hunters finished a point out of the three-way tie in sixth place, while the placements of the other three bands weren't publicized. As for the bonus awards, those went evenly to each band out of fairness, though only three of the awards didn't go to the judges' first choice. The individual performer awards went to Wishbone frontman Dennis Duguay for best vocals, The V.D.M.'s Andrew Angelic for best guitar, The Bear Hunters' Justin Lam for best bass, and F.A.T.I.L.'s Kameron Nicholson for best drums, while the collective band awards went to As It Stands for best audience, Late & Loud for best ensemble, T-Rex Manning for best sound, Inhuman Methods for best headbanging, and Tea With Lincoln for best mosh pit, which was honestly 100% deserved!
Aftermath: Amidst a summer break and a brief breakup that fall, Late & Loud opened for bands like Skull Fist & The Saigon Hookers, and released their EP "Heavy Rockin' Hard Metal" that November. Though they fell inactive after their Rockstar Bar Battle finals run in 2013, they played two final reunion gigs in 2014. As It Stands stayed active with more concerts through that August, but never played afterwards, dissolving in 2014. Wishbone briefly broke up after the battle before reuniting with new lineups from 2013-2014, while both For All That Is Lost & Inhuman Methods broke up as well in early 2013, following their own scattered mid-2012 concert dates. The Valentine's Day Massacre & Tea With Lincoln were common sights locally before relocating to London & St. Catharines respectively that fall, and while the latter are still active, The V.D.M. dissolved in 2013. The Bear Hunters remain heavily active to this day, releasing their debut album in 2014 and playing many concerts in the process, while T-Rex Manning were a familiar sight at local concerts before falling inactive in 2014 themselves.
Some Notable Performers' Newer Bands (Metal/hard rock in italics):
Crimson Crusade (Robert Crossley from Inhuman Methods)
Flat Stanley (Tony Kajnar & Glen Thomas from Wishbone)
Jack Spades (J.D. Pearce & Tiffany Stocco from T-Rex Manning, and Justin Lam & Johnny Belanger from The Bear Hunters)
Jon & His Friends (Jonathan Tiberi from Late & Loud; Based out of Hamilton)
Mourning Wood (Steven Flint & Glen Thomas from Wishbone)
The Peace Vibe (Glen Thomas from Wishbone)
Rattlesnake Hotel (Andrew Angelic from The Valentine's Day Massacre; Based out of London)
Skeyes of Seven (John Mignacca* from As It Stands)
Stereo North (Bill Bennett from T-Rex Manning)
The Suicide Kings (Steven Flint from Wishbone & Mitch Sirie from The Bear Hunters)
- Four different local bands dropped out from competing in this battle for varying reasons. Three exited before the battle took place, including blues rock quartet The Moves (due to external commitments), funk rock trio The Vertically Impaired (who broke up shortly afterwards), and classic hard rock quintet Turner Up (though 4/5ths of that lineup did take fifth place at the Rock N' Roar Battle in Spanish that month with Havadder.) As well, indie rock trio Cowboys & Indians (who were already late additions) pulled out the day of the battle, as bassist Alex White couldn't make the event.
- Though initially planned to be judged by crowd reaction, the judges for the Humane Society Battle included prolific local solo guitarist/Audiofumes podcaster Mike Cliffe, Sault Metal Scene owner Rob Figures, and ex-Browbeat frontman Randy "Dutch" Vanderploeg, while battle volunteer Stephanie Becker assisted in tallying scores and in the score tiebreaking. Rob would later return to battle judging at the Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands in April 2013 and then at March 2015's VM Radio Battle of the Bands.
- Sykotyk Rampage guitarist Dirk Becker served as the evening's MC and co-organizer, which was at least partly why they didn't compete with the other bands at this battle. Their sets that night marked their last live appearances with bassist Brian Cattapan, who left the band that summer due to his continuing out-of-town commitments. He was replaced by ex-The Fury bassist Tony Briglio, and Sykotyk Rampage have remained active since at recent local concerts, including releasing dozens of albums worth of new material.
- Despite a lower than expected attendance, $600 was raised for the Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society, which helped stir discussion of this battle returning in 2013, though none would take place.
- Although individual scores & complete rankings were not announced, this battle was notable for it's extremely close scores and competitive nature, as disclosed online following the event. The aforementioned ties aside, just six points (averaged out to two points a judge) separated the tied third place bands from the seventh place band.
- Though Late & Loud pledged to use their recording time won at this battle towards recordings on their debut EP, the sessions for the tracks on "Heavy Rockin' Hard Metal" & it's "Still Hard" 2013 reissue were either done at The Smoke & Oak Room Studio prior to the battle, or were independently recorded, and it's unknown if anything became of the recording time that they won.
- Inhuman Methods' set at this battle marked their second & final concert appearance with original singer Curtis Moir, who was replaced by Anthony Tverdal just a few days after this battle took place, though that lineup only played a few shows themselves.
- Bands were allowed to bring their own banners to set up on stage for their sets, which a third of the competing bands (For All That Is Lost, Late & Loud, and T-Rex Manning) took advantage of.
- Had The Moves or Cowboys & Indians not dropped out from competing at this battle, most members of each could have had another shot at battle victory, as The Moves featured Blackwater alumni Cody McMillan & Dave Pihlaja and ex-Stillbroke bassist Nathan Bouliane, while Cowboys & Indians featured The Crossed frontman Jordan Flesher & Soldiers of Misfortune bassist Alex White, all of which had won local battles in the past decade with the credited bands.
- Both For All That Is Lost & The Valentine's Day Massacre returned for the Battle For The Blood at The Roosevelt Hotel on June 19th, where they competed for a guaranteed opening slot at the 3 Inches of Blood concert there on July 9th, while T-Rex Manning also played a set out of competition (as frontman J.D. Pearce was promoting both shows.) F.A.T.I.L. reportedly finished second, but it's not clear whether The V.D.M. improved on their fourth place finish at the Humane Society battle or not. The fan-voted winners of the Battle For The Blood were Winkstinger.
- Late & Loud, The Bear Hunters, and Sykotyk Rampage all competed the following year at The Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands in April 2013. While Sykotyk Rampage didn't advance, Late & Loud & The Bear Hunters finished in 4th & 5th place in the final round. Other Humane Society Battle competitors involved include Wishbone bassist Steven Flint & Bear Hunters guitarist Mitch Sirie in their newer hard rock band The Suicide Kings (who won the battle), and Bear Hunters guitarist Josh Stephney in his stoner/death metal band Giwakwa (who didn't advance to the finals.)
- Despite the loss of Josh Stephney after his mid-2013 move to Brampton, The Bear Hunters finally clinched their first battle of the bands victory at Viva La Battle at The Canadian Nightclub on November 13th of the following year, earning the right to open for Bam Margera's band Fuckface Unstoppable the following month (which Josh rejoined them for.) Wishbone bassist Steven Flint also competed in this battle with his newer hard rock band Punch, but they finished in third place.
- Mitch Sirie & Steven Flint also saw expanded battle of the bands success in April 2014 when The Suicide Kings finished second out of 15 bands at the Rock N' Roar Battle of the Bands in Spanish, Ontario, winning $500 and the right to open for Randy Bachman & Honeymoon Suite at that year's Rock N' Roar festival in Spanish. A newly reunited Wishbone lineup also competed, though they did not place, and the competing lineup only featured frontman Dennis Duguay from the Humane Society battle.
- The Bear Hunters (sans Josh again) competed in both the Speak Easy and VM Radio Battles of the Bands in March 2015, finishing in third in the former and two points shy of first place in the latter. T-Rex Manning bassist Bill Bennett also competed in the VM Radio Battle at The Canadian that same month with his new punk band Stereo North, but they did not advance out of the semifinals after a close final tally.
Videos of each metal/hard rock band's first song (including one from Sykotyk Rampage)
Videos of Wishbone & Tea With Lincoln's first songs
Official event poster
I hope you guys liked this Battle of the Bands Rewind Profile! Our next profile in this series will take place in June when we flash back to last year's Battle for the Blood, but before all of that, be sure to hit the Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands Finals THIS WEDNESDAY! That's all for now, but stay tuned for a stacked post full of big new concert announcements later today! Thanks everyone!