The final schedule for next month's second annual VM Radio Battle of the Bands at The Canadian Nightclub has finally been announced, as per the Facebook event page, so what should you know? After a quieter than expected number of registrations (down from 11 to 5 this year), organizers have contracted the battle from three quarterfinal rounds to two, which means that the battle will now start on Wednesday, March 9th rather than this coming Wednesday. It will still be a multi-night, structured event with semifinals on March 9th & 16th, with the finals taking place as scheduled on March 23rd. Thousands of dollars await in cash & prizes for competitors next month, with VM Radio, Tidal Records, Case's Music, The Rad Zone, Labatt Breweries, Maxx Graphix, and The Canadian proper providing numerous prizes for bands and individual performers alike, just like last year! Though this year's lineup is much smaller, there are 5 talented bands competing in what should be a wide open contest, so here's the semifinal rosters!
The first semifinal on March 9th will welcome three bands to the stage, including the only two returning bands from last year's battle, and they include alternative hard rock trio The Din, new local pop/hard rock quartet Heavy Head, and pop punk quartet Stereo North! The Din are the most battle-tested band in the field, having competed in last year's VM Radio & Speak Easy Battles, but with new guitarist Tammy Hill now in the fold, will the former Mike Haggith & The Din prove that the third time's a charm with a finals run next month? Stereo North made a huge impression in last year's VM Radio Battle by being a part of the ultra-close finish in their second show, but can they build on that with a semifinal win for this year's event? Similarly, March 9th's semifinal is Heavy Head's second ever concert, but with a lineup full of high placing battle alums from the likes of The Suicide Kings, Haggith, and Winkstinger, plus Bear Hunters drummer Johnny Belanger (the only finalist back this year), can Heavy Head deliver another deep run in 2016?
The second semifinal on March 16th will only see two competing bands, but as one is a battle newcomer and the other only debuted in the fall, there will be some extra new blood in the finals the following week! One is local modern/hard rock quartet Eclipse, who feature members of The Din, Haggith, and Project 421 from last year's battles in their newest collaborative project, but this will be their second battle appearance (as they're in March 10th's Speak Easy Battle of the Bands.) Can Eclipse pick up where Project 421 left off last year and move onto the finals, and can both of Daniel Horton's entered bands end up in the finals when all is said & done? The other competing band is acoustic/indie rock quartet K.I.C.K., which will see the first ever battle appearance from this union of Cowboys & Indians, State of Misery, and Starlit Sins alumni. Can The Keep It Cool Kids deliver a big first impression on the battlefront next month?
Much like with last year's guest Pixo Control set, punk/metal quintet Jack Spades will play a guest set at The Canadian to fill out the March 16th lineup, and while this is a non-competitive set (as frontman J.D. Pearce is promoting and co-organizing this battle), you can see Jack Spades compete against The Din, Eclipse, and Heavy Head at The Speak Easy Battle on the 10th. Jack Spades are a natural fit, and they should jack the Canadian (and the planet) on the 16th, so don't miss out on their set either! As was the case in 2013 & 2015's multi-night battles, a wild card slot awaits the highest scoring runner-up band during the semifinals, and remember that being a wild card finalist doesn't mean anything negative come the finals, as Gnaeus won after being wild cards last year. The three finalists will compete for the top $1,000 prize and much more in the finals on Wednesday, March 23rd, so who will earn the right to compete for the championship? Be at The Canadian next month to find out!
Cover charges of $5 for the semifinals and $10 for the finals were originally announced, along with $15 passes for all nights of the battle, which has nightly start times of 8:00 PM and 19+ age limits. Though the lineup is smaller than last year's, there's a lot of local talent, familiar faces, and intriguing newer artists, and with last year's finalists largely working in studio right now, the field is wide open! Stay tuned for continuing updates on this year's VM Radio Battle of the Bands as they come in, and don't miss out on March 9th, 16th, and 23rd! That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and features soon! Thanks everyone!