the VM Radio Battle of the Bands, but thanks to a family emergency and related road trip, plus a busy slate of weekend concert previews and late notice announcements, this is only making it on the site now. I apologize for the delay, and things should be posted on a more normal, prompt schedule regarding next week's recap! Also, check out this morning's post for new show announcements from tomorrow through next month, plus our preview of TONIGHT'S Exes For Eyes concert. Now, to our long awaited recap of the second semifinal in this month-long battle of the bands at The Canadian Nightclub, as I joined Dustin Jones & Rob Speers once again to judge and score the night's entertainment, though like in last week's recap, I will not review or critique the sets or performances of this week's four bands, just recap what occured and observed by all in attendance.
Mannapool opened the day's events with a 7 song set comprised entirely of originals like "Trance", "Controlled Chaos", and "Mexican Standoff" that will likely be seen on their forthcoming debut album. Playing first was a handicap in the crowd department, as few beyond press came to the floor for their set, but Mannapool definitely seemed to win over some fans who weren't as familiar with them. All-female hard rock/punk quartet The Danger Cats took the stage next, playing a mixture of covers from the likes of Judas Priest and Lee Aaron alongside originals like "Wanted Man" & "Sugar Mama". True to form, the crowd warmed up more for their set, with a spattering of fans coming on late, and they were warmly recieved by the audience as well! No sign of the teased surprises that the girls has alluded to though.
Haggith came on next, playing a high-impact set divided between originals like "Hands of Death" & their newest "Silver Bullet", with covers of the likes of Tenacious D and Jethro Tull for good measure. Showcasing their increasingly heavier sound, the guys got a strong (if inconsistent) crowd that seemed to take in their set pretty well! The night closed with new local punk quartet Stereo North in just their second live concert appearance, and with many unanswered questions about their sound, what did they play? Mostly covers of the likes of Jimmy Eat World, The Foo Fighters, and Katy Perry (you read that right), though they did rock one original, named "Fall Down Before Me". Soundwise, they did stick to an energetic pop punk sound that likely wasn't dissimilar to frontman Andrew Pucci's older local bands. Also, they did have the best crowd of the night, but again, they did play last.
After Stereo North's set, Dustin, Rob, and I tallied the scores, and top to bottom, these are the closest one night scores that I have seen at any battle as a judge to date. First place & fourth place were only separated by a total of 8.5 points (I'm dead serious), and two of the judges had three of Wednesday's bands tied on their individual scorecards! Considering that the maximum score is 300 (100 a judge), that's incredibly close when you average it out, but it's an excellent sign for the musical talent in this city and how far along everyone is! With that said, who edged out first place?......
Mannapool!! The progressive rock quartet have punched their tickets for the finals on Wednesday, March 25th, where they will join The Bear Hunters, next week's winners, and the highest scoring wild card band that will be announced this coming Wednesday after the last semifinal. Considering that Mannapool weren't that well known to many of us when they played at Rock For Dimes & Toystock last fall, their fast rise up the local ladder is all the more impressive, but can they win this battle in just under two weeks? And of course, huge kudos to The Danger Cats, Haggith, and Stereo North on their excellent performances as well, you all have nothing to hang your heads over! This was extremely competitive, and if the tiniest of things had been different for any of the 4 bands, the results might be completely altered. The wild card race is very close right now, so cross your fingers, as anything can happen!
SooToday's article on Wednesday's action is now online, featuring 26 photos from the night (including 7 of Haggith, 6 each of Mannapool & The Danger Cats, 4 of Stereo North, and one each of the judges), and as usual, they're excellently shot by Donna Hopper, so give them a look above! The article also features brief interview remarks from Mannapool frontman Josh Ingram on their sound & 2015 plans (including new material for the finals), while the article also hypes next week's action. The new episode of Tuned on Local2 is now online as well, but to give it proper attention without being buried deep in this post, we'll recap it as a main story on the site in an upcoming post (in the meantime, you can watch it at this link!) We will see you guys this coming Wednesday for the last semifinal, featuring The Apocalypse Afterparty, Speak Easy Battle winners Gnaeus, Mike Haggith & The Din, and Project 421 (the latter two featuring 3/4ths of Haggith), plus the reveal of the wild card finalists!
As for our videos, I again shot the first video of each band (as many of you will have seen via our Facebook page already), so in chronological order, here's Mannapool playing their song "Beckoning", The Danger Cats covering The Black Keys' "Gold on the Ceiling", Haggith covering Queensryche's "Queen of the Ryche", and Stereo North covering Blink-182's "All the Small Things"! Thanks everyone, and stay tuned for much more news and notes in the coming days!