Just one day after TONIGHT'S opening night of the VM Radio Battle of the Bands (see you guys there!), Sault Ontario will welcome a second battle in as many nights TOMORROW, as The Speak Easy Battle of the Bands goes down at Algoma University, so here's our extended preview of it! Postponed from a planned February date, tomorrow's battle at The Speak Easy (Algoma U's campus bar/venue) is being promoted by Boxes of Boom's Sam Decter & Haggith's Jordan Leach in association with the Algoma University Students' Union & representative Meghan Rix. The first battle hosted at The Speak Easy in over five years, tomorrow's battle will see 7 acts compete in unusually short sets of 15 minutes each, with a fan vote determining the winners (a'la 2013's Viva La Battle), though I can't confirm yet whether voting is conducted via a paper ballot, loudest reaction, or another method. Cash prizes await the top 3 bands, but who all is competing? Here's what you should know on each band in alphabetical order!
The Bear Hunters: Making their fifth local battle of the bands appearance (and fresh off of tonight's VM Radio Battle set, results to be determined), local death metal veterans The Bear Hunters will look to repeat the success they had at 2013's fan voted Viva La Battle, but will their brutal originals win over the crowd once again and carry them to their second local battle win?
Gnaeus: This young local post-punk/garage rock quartet have been making waves in the local scene since debuting last year, including a number of solo and supporting appearances at various venues, but will be making their first ever battle of the bands and Speak Easy appearance tomorrow. Will their talented and rising originals make a big impression with fans?
Infinity Grinder: Currently, we are in the dark on Infinity Grinder, and all that we can confirm on them is that they are a debuting local band. A mystery band at a local battle isn't unprecedented (remember Tiny Trebuchet?), but as we've seen with bands like Sense of Truth & Bring the Fallen, bands have won local battles that just happened to be their first show. Will Infinity Grinder be next? Let us know if you have any info on them!
Jesse Merineau: A rare local battle of the bands appearance by a solo musician, local singer/guitarist Jesse Merineau has been earning a rising profile in the local indie/folk scenes in the past year, which have seen him open for Gunner & Smith and play at the Bon Soo Marquee. He's teasing a move to Toronto after tomorrow's battle, so can Jesse go out on a high note?
Long Shot: After an array of headlining concerts at unfamiliar venues last year, newer local hard rock quartet Long Shot will make their 2015 and battle of the bands debut tomorrow night at The Speak Easy. Guitarist Nathan Muto has told me that they've been working on original songs in recent months, but will Long Shot prove that they're not a "long shot" to win first place?
Mike Haggith & The Din: Fresh off of adding former Revolution drummer Brandan Glew to their new primary lineup, this acid/jam hard rock band will be making their first battle appearance tomorrow, but Mike and guitarist Curtis McKenzie came in second at 2013's Rockstar Bar Battle with their main band Haggith, and Curtis made the podium with Punch at Viva La Battle as well. Will Mike & The Din carve their own local battle success tomorrow?
Project 421: Also featuring Daniel Horton from Haggith & Punch's recent battle runs, this veteran classic metal quartet will also be playing their first ever battle of the bands tomorrow night.Their experience and old school sound has made them many fans since debuting in 2013, but will Project 421 earn a high finish at The Speak Easy tomorrow night?
The announced prizes for this battle are just cash, with $400 going to the first place band, $200 for second place, and $100 for third. The battle is slated to begin tomorrow night at 9:00 PM, admission will be $5 at the door, and while this is largely a 19+ event, Algoma students with valid student ID can attend if they're 18 or under, so keep that deal in mind if you apply! Also, the "Scan To Win" contest on the official poster relates to Algoma students only, where you would scan your cards to potentially win an iPad at semester's end. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! It's also worth noting that 4 of tomorrow's bands are playing in the VM Radio Battle (The Bear Hunters TONIGHT, and Gnaeus, Mike & The Din, and Project 421 on March 18th), so be sure to support these bands at The Canadian on these two nights, especially as March 18th could be considered a rematch of tomorrow's events.
Despite the fan voting method and short set times, not to mention it's proximity to the VM Radio Battle, it's great to see another battle of the bands in the Soo tomorrow night, and I am eager to attend as a fan and enjoy the action! Will The Bear Hunters win their second battle, or can Mike Haggith & The Din or Project 421 build on their members' past successes? Can Gnaeus or Long Shot continue their local rises with a battle victory, or can Jesse Merineau pull off a single-handed run to the top? Who are Infinity Grinder, and how will they do tomorrow night? Find out tomorrow at 9:00 PM, here's The Bear Hunters' winning set at Viva La Battle as a preview, and we'll see you guys TONIGHT at the VM Radio Battle! Thanks everyone!