The Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands, but be sure to check out last month's poll results in the post below, and VOTE TODAY in our current poll on your favourite concerts from 2012 in full on your right! Also, like the last two weeks, remember that I will NOT be giving in-depth reviews or critiques of last night's bands, or revealing scores beyond bands' placement each day, out of respect to all bands, organizers, and my judging position. Like the past two semifinal nights, three more local bands gathered at The Rockstar Bar to compete for one (or two) spots in next week's finals, with the only major differences from past weeks being a 10:15 PM start time (not 10:30 as was previously announced), less band introductions, and Boot Hill Crooners singer/guitarist Sheldon Jaaskelainen helping out on sound in place of Craig West. For details on each night not covered above, check out our last two battle recaps on the site!
Sykotyk Rampage in their first battle of the bands with their current lineup, and they played a selection of more recent original songs like "Hay Zeus" and "Bucket of Ham", along with a medley of their drinking songs (as seen at The Locals Attack in November.) Though they had some loyal fans out, their crowd response wasn't fantastic, and the free-flowing banter and casual energy of their usual sets wasn't as visible. Second last night was Giwakwa (pronounced with a hard G, as in "Gates"), the new local death/sludge metal quartet featuring Bring The Fallen alumni Josh Stephney & Nolan Rainville, veteran local guitarist Chris Page, and Frightlight drummer Chris Thompson. They played an abbreviated set of just 4 songs (including "Winter's Hunger", "Endless Bummer", and "Iron Lung") which attracted a solid crowd response on the floor! Soundwise, they're reminiscent of Bring The Fallen, if a bit doomier and with no guitar solos (which Chris Page told me is on purpose.)
The Bear Hunters (in their Rockstar Bar debut), and they won immediate points visually for both their new banner and their bear hunter costumes (complete with camouflage garb & "bear blood"!) Their set attracted the biggest crowd and cheers of the night, which saw them play 5 original songs including "Servitude", "Collapse The Sun", and "Deception". After their set, judges Len Ward, Jay Case, and myself deliberated on the results, and while I won't reveal the final scores, I will say that once again, we all agreed who finished first, second, and third. With that said, your third semifinal winners & battle finalists are.... THE BEAR HUNTERS! As a result, the guys have secured their best ever battle of the bands finish (following last year's narrow 6th place run at the Humane Society Battle), and it could mark another prize winning run for members who took awards in bands like Bring The Fallen & Operation: Killdozer in recent years! And yes, guitarist Mitch Sirie will compete twice in the finals following his other band's victory last week, so we'll have to see how that goes! That said, who got the wild card?
Well, last night's second place band (who I'll confirm were Giwakwa) didn't quite break the tie going into last night, but rather than make a tough decision, organizers and judges mutually decided to give BOTH of the tied wild card bands a spot in the finals, and with that said, the wild card finalists are.... HAGGITH & THE PESTO SHIRTS! For The Pesto Shirts, this marks members Steve Myers & Jacob Rendell's first upper level run at a local battle since Sense of Truth & Blues Harvest made the Kiss Battle Finals in December 2009, while Haggith will get a second chance to make a huge impression in their first collective local battle next week! So for next week, The Bear Hunters, Haggith, and The Pesto Shirts will join the first two week's winners (Late & Loud and The Suicide Kings) in a massive 5 band final round, and there's a little something for everyone at next week's finals, with death metal, grunge, hair metal, indie rock, and hard rock all represented by the different bands, and there's interesting notes throughout the finals to take note of!
Will The Bear Hunters lock up their first local battle win and give guitarist Josh Stephney his fourth battle victory in the past 4 years? Can Haggith prove themselves to be above the wild card with a first place run in their battle debut? Will Late & Loud give Jonathan Tiberi a huge local send-off with their second local battle win in just over a year? Can The Pesto Shirts knock off their heavier competitors with their talented indie/jazz blend and professionalism come next week? And will The Suicide Kings keep up their prolific recent successes with a victory in the finals? This is gonna be a huge night of finals action THIS WEDNESDAY, and as a note to all 20 competitors next week: Bring your A-games! Leave it all on the stage, don't just play the same set with the same effort. Prove you deserve the victory, bring your fans, and leave everyone in attendance next week wanting more! You've made it this far, now turn it up to 11 and make the most of this opportunity! No word yet on a start time, but I imagine it'll be similar to past weeks, while the 19+ age limit remains in effect, and admission will cost $10 (but believe me, it's worth it, more bands and only the top bands!)
Which band will claim the $1,000 grand prize, the recording time at Case's Music, the opening slot at an upcoming Johnny Pints concert, and maybe more? Who will claim the other podium spots? Be at The Rockstar Bar NEXT WEEK to find out, and I know I'll see you guys there! Congratulations to the finalists for making it this far, and here's my videos from last night, of Sykotyk Rampage playing their newer song "Disbeliever", Giwakwa playing their song "Stoned To Death", and The Bear Hunters playing "Bloodthirst"!
That's all for today, but stay tuned for previews of both this weekend's metal/hard rock concerts and Woods of Ypres' Juno nomination tomorrow morning or afternoon! Thanks everyone!