Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rockstar Bar Battle Of The Bands Semifinals Recap (Night 2)

Hey guys, it's time for my recap of last night's second week of the Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands! Like on the first night, remember that I WON'T be reviewing the bands individually or revealing individual scores or placements beyond what was said publically at the battle (as I'm one of the judges), only going over the events and news from the battle itself for readers. Like on April 3rd, last night's action saw three local bands competing for one of four slots at the battle finals in two weeks, and while things were about the same as before, there were a few differences. Setlists were retracted to 25 minutes, and unlike last week, The Rockstar Bar's P.A. announcer offered up come band information and plugs for the event and future concerts between bands, which was a nice touch! Also, MC & fellow judge Jay Case had a lesser load last night, with Case's Music recording engineer/local musician Craig West helping out with sound (and with a cast on his hand too, kudos to him!), so Jay didn't have to run all over the place again! Everything else was basically the same as last week, so for any minutae not addressed above, see our Night 1 recap at this link!

After a random drawing, the night's first band was local "eclectic rock" quartet The Pesto Shirts, in what was both their first gig with electric instruments, and their first with dapper-dressed new drummer Jacob Rendell. Their set largely consisted of original songs like "Gypsy" and "Lay It On The Line", along with at least one cover (of KT Tunstall's "The Beauty of Uncertainty"), and though their set was largely different than their fellow competitors, they seemed to win over many fans with their jazz and indie/inspired sound. They were followed by local punk trio The Northern Tragedy, who played a mix of modern punk originals and covers, including their songs "Dragon Drums" and "Excuse My Choices", which seemed to go over well in their return to The Rockstar Bar! However, the fans didn't visibly appear to be consistently engaged throughout their set, and without going into detail on my scorecards or opinions, the guys need work on their crowd interactions and energy, which didn't match their talents or songwriting.

The final band of the night was local hard rock quartet The Suicide Kings, who came prepared with the rock look, energy, and shades, with fans even wielding signs for the occasion, a'la Sykotyk Rampage at the Sault College battle in 2010! Half originals & half covers, their set included songs like their EP's title track "King of the World" & "Into The Fray", along with Billy Idol & Buckcherry covers (some in a medley), and this helped get the most people onto the floor of the night! After The Suicide Kings finished, me, Jay, and fellow judge Len Ward deliberated on the scores, and without revealing anything specific, we were in complete agreement again about who finished first, second, and third. With that said, the battle's second finalist band is...... THE SUICIDE KINGS! As a result of their win, they've ensured at least a fourth place finish in their first local battle, and it's another top 4 battle result for guitarist Steven Flint, who finished in a razor thin third place at last year's Sault Humane Society Battle with Wishbone.

Plus, this is a guaranteed improvement (and a nice birthday present) for bassist Mitch Sirie, who finished in 6th place (and a point out of the three-way 3rd place tie) with The Bear Hunters at that same battle. I won't publically disclose the second place band yet, but I will admit right now (and I'm dead serious) that the second place bands from last week & this week have the exact same score. With the wild card band being determined next Wednesday, this could be very significant if next week's second place band doesn't score higher, so keep note of a potential tie-breaking decision if it comes down to that. The final night of the semifinals goes down this coming Wednesday (with a special 10:30 PM start time), when The Bear Hunters, Giwakwa, and Sykotyk Rampage compete in arguably the heaviest night of the semifinals, with the winner joining The Suicide Kings, week 1 winners Late & Loud, and the wild card second place band (to be determined) on April 24th. Two of next week's bands have competed in battles of the bands in the last 3 years, while Giwakwa feature two members of three time battle champions Bring The Fallen, so it's anyone's guess what happens next week! (Plus, imagine if The Bear Hunters made the finals, giving Mitch Sirie double duty on the 24th?! It could happen!)

Stay tuned to the SMS for previews, recaps, and updates as more comes in, I'll see you guys back at The Rockstar Bar next week, and thanks again to Carrie, Hayley, Jay, J.D., Len, Martin, and everyone at The Rockstar Bar for the help & hospitality going forward! Like last week, I foregone photos due to my judging priorities, but I did get videos of each band, so here's (in performance order) The Pesto Shirts playing their song "Gypsy", The Northern Tragedy playing their original "These Days", and The Suicide Kings playing their song "King of the World"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned tomorrow morning for previews of the rest of the weekend's metal/hard rock concerts, including a new show and a notable benefit event next month! Thanks everyone!

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