For the first time in over a year, Sault Ontario will see a full battle of the bands on Friday, February 20th at The Rednecks Saloon! Hosted by new local sound company Twin City Sound, this will be the first formal battle of the bands (Soo Band Roulette aside) since November 2013's Viva La Battle, so if you've missed this sort of event, you'll want to take note! Promoters have revealed that the battle will take place at 8:00 PM on February 20th, and it will feature 10 bands, which would be the largest one day battle in recent memory if that holds up, but spots to compete are available on a first come, first serve basis with no holds, so if you or your band want in, message promoters Steven Flint & Terry Eaton through the Facebook event page A.S.A.P.! To sum up the criteria, each band will have a 25 minute set, and there will be house instruments supplied for bands to use (to ensure a level playing field), though individual requests can be made if you want something more personal.
The first battle of the bands to feature a panel of judges since the Rockstar Bar Battle in April 2013, they'll be judging bands based on their enthusiasm, crowd engagement & response, originality, and skill of the band's members, and while original songs are not mandatory, making covers your own will play into the scores. The judges will be Midway frontman Paul Leclair (who you may also know as the president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Musicians union), battle co-promoter Terry Eaton (also well known from his work with Asylum Country & Mourning Wood), and.... yours truly, making this the third battle of the bands that I've had the privilege of being a judge for. As such, expect our coverage of this battle to once again be impartial to all competing bands, and I will not play favourites! An unspecified cash prize awaits this battle's winning band, and though more specific prize details have yet to be announced, we'll let you know when more is publicized on that front!
Signed up bands will have to pay a $100 registration fee to compete at the battle, but like at 2013's Rockstar Bar Battle, bands will get 10 tickets to sell for the event on February 20th, and as each ticket costs $10, you'll make your money back if you sell all 10 of the tickets! That will be the likely cover charge for the battle as well, and as The Rednecks Saloon is a bar, this will be a 19+ event. As for what bands you can expect to see, the field's wide open (especially given the gap between battles over the past year+), but local grunge/hard rock favourites Haggith have already shown visible interest in hopping aboard. All we can really say otherwise at this point is that bands affiliated with Twin City Sound and/or the judges won't be playing, but given the talent in this city, a full field of 10 bands should be easy to attain! In case you're wondering, there is another battle of the bands coming in March, and we'll address that on the site tomorrow, so stay tuned for that as well!
For full details, including complete information on the battle of the bands' rules,. sign-up criteria, and more, click here, and apply A.S.A.P. to ensure you or your band are among the 10 competing bands come February 20th! I'm excited to be a part of another battle of the bands, and even if I wasn't judging, it's been far too long for a new battle in Sault Ontario (especially following the cancelled Rock For Dimes battle), so be sure to stay tuned for updates on the first 2015 battle of the bands in the city in over the next 2 months! SIGN UP NOW, BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE, and stay tuned for news on the March battle TOMORROW!
We'll close this post with the last of the known public Toystock videos, courtesy of Mike Case's Junior All Stars, who did cover Joan Jett's "I Love Rock & Roll" last month in their set! The student youth band was filmed for their entire set by YouTube user dtwalker79, whose daughter Hannah is one of the band's singer/guitarists. He also filmed Mike Case's student bands at other recent events such as Toystock 2013 and Rotaryfest, and I'll look through those videos in the coming days too so we can see if they have any hard rock covers in those! Filmed at a generally stationary camera angle (though it switches to a closer view of the lead vocalists for the last 9 minutes), the lighting here isn't much and only lights up a few members very well, but the audio's solid! The Joan Jett cover is 18:29 into the video, and in order, the All Stars also covered songs by Hot Chelle Rae, One Direction, Icona Pop, Serena Ryder, Katy Perry, Miranda Lambert, and Bob Dylan.
Mike Case's Junior All-Stars are developing their musical talents and live stage experience well, and it's great to see them have a successful set for a second straight Toystock, though I concede that most of their cover selections aren't my thing. It will be interesting to see where the kids go from here, but for now, here's their complete Toystock 2014 set at The Canadian last month, and we'll let you know if dtwalker79 has any other hard rock covers!
That's all for now, but stay tuned for Sault Michigan weekend concert previews and full current details on March's battle of the bands TOMORROW! Thanks everyone!