Thursday, March 19, 2015

VM Radio Battle Of The Bands Night #3 Recap & Fallout!!

Hey guys, it's now time for our recap of last night's VM Radio Battle of the Bands semifinal at The Canadian Nightclub, but be sure to check out the first of this weekend's concert previews in the post below this one! As you may remember, the last four of this year's 11 competing bands gathered to compete for the last guaranteed finals slot, and perhaps the wild card, though the attendance last night was arguably the lowest it has been (possibly due to the bands not being quite as known as in prior weeks), but fans were a constant on the floor, which was nice! There was great talent all around though, but like in past recaps, I will not review or critique the bands from last night due to my judging commitments, but I will recap their set and what everyone saw and heard.

After a random drawing to start the night, the first band was local jam/alternative rock trio Mike Haggith & The Din in their second battle appearance (and third show with new drummer Brandan Glew), and they played a set featuring 6 original songs, largely from Mike's own solo discography like "Of Cars & Criminals" and "We Met As Surrogates", along with Simple Minds and Live covers that seemed to go over well with early fans! Mike and Curt's Haggith bandmate Daniel Horton took the stage next with his classic metal quartet Project 421 in their second battle, who took fans on a "Generation X nostalgia road trip" through covers of the likes of Alice Cooper & Iron Maiden, along with unveiling their new original song "Into The Darkness" to a strong reception as well, getting a louder fan response benefited by their later placement in the order!

Third were local genre-hating but ultra-creative quartet The Apocalypse Afterparty, who surprised many with their look, sound, and presentation, which included movie trailer announcer introductions, masks, British accents, rap/metal hybrid music, a cross-dressing drummer, two bassists, no guitarists, an MPC effects machine, glowing drum sticks, and more! It's hard to explain their set (a mix of originals and covers of acts like Lorde and Watsky), but now with a full quartet lineup, we're seeing a fuller realization of the band, and they attracted by far the best crowd of the night, who even called in vain for an encore! The battle closed with Speak Easy Battle winners Gnaeus, who played a well received set of original songs like "Circles" & "Starts With F", which they capped with a Liam Lynch cover that unleashed the punk side of their punk/garage/wave hybrid sound. Fans definitely enjoyed their set, but was it enough to put them through to the finals?

After Gnaeus' set, me and fellow judges Dustin Jones and Rob Speers tallied up the scores, so who won last night's semifinal to advance to the finals? .......THE APOCALYPSE AFTERPARTY! In just their second announced public concert in the Soo, these masked bandits took the crowd by storm and punched their ticket to the finals next week, and it will give "songwriters" Paul Stanghetta and Steve Mozarowski a chance to better their last battle finishes from circa 5 years ago, which included 2 second place runs by The Fury. That said, who will join them in the finals next week as the wild card finalists? ..........GNAEUS! The quest continues for this relatively new local quartet to win their second battle in a three week span, and after how strong their reaction was to cap off last night, I don't think any fans were complaining!

Also, their high finish does line up with the fan voted Speak Easy Battle results in this mini-rematch of three of that event's bands, but it begs the hypothetical question: Had The Apocalypse Afterparty been in that battle too, would they have won it? We'll never know, but it's interesting to think about!

I will also note that The Apocalypse Afterparty & Gnaeus were only separated on the scores by 4 points, but as they're both in the finals, it's almost moot. In terms of the other placements & the wild card race, I won't divulge too much here, other than to say that the first two night's runner up bands were Honest Job and Haggith. And now, our attention shifts to this coming Wednesday, where last night's finalists will join week #1 winners The Bear Hunters and week #2 winners Mannapool for what should be a very exciting final, and I can 100% seriously admit that I have no idea on who will win! We'll of course have more on the finals in our extended preview on Tuesday, but with this spread of talent, new blood, and past battle success, this will be a can't miss event, and very much worthy of the $10 cover! Like before, the finals will be an ALL AGES show with an 8:00 PM start time.

The new Tuned episode on night #3 is now online, but we'll hold that for our next news post (likely on Saturday) to give it proper emphasis, but be sure to check it out before then! As you can see above, Donna Hopper's photos from SooToday (excellent as always) are all now up at this link along with a recap of last night's action, and her photos include 5 pictures of Gnaeus, 4 pictures of Project 421, 3 pictures each of The Apocalypse Afterparty and Mike & The Din, and one each of the finalist bands at night's end (sans The Afterparty's masks and female members) and Maxx Entertainment's Greg Simpson, who has provided great sound all month long for this battle. This has been a great event so far, and I'm very eager to step behind the judges' desk for the finals on Wednesday to see everyone there and determine who wins all of the band and individual awards!

As for our videos (which you likely saw on our Facebook page), here's each band's first song in chronological order, including Mike Haggith & The Din covering Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)", Project 421 covering Black Sabbath's "After Forever", The Apocalypse Afterparty covering Saul Williams' "List of Demands (Reparations)", and Gnaeus playing their song "Zeppelin"! Give them a look below, stay tuned for weekend concert previews tomorrow, and do NOT miss next week's finals! Thanks everyone!

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