Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The 2016 Speak Easy Battle Of The Bands Preview!!

For the second time in as many days, here's our extended preview of a local battle of the bands, as for a second straight year, two separate battles are taking place on concurrent days! Just one day removed from night #1 of the VM Radio Battle of the Bands, the Algoma University Students Union brings us the second annual Speak Easy Battle of the Bands TOMORROW NIGHT, where 8 acts will take the stage at Algoma University's campus bar for another night of action, with $700 in prize money awaiting the top 3 bands! Postponed from an originally planned November 2015 date due to "sponsorship issues", this year's Speak Easy Battle will largely be similar to last year's battle, with bands playing 15 minute sets each, while winners will again be decided via a fan vote rather than a panel of judges. With last year's podium finishers not back for this year's expanded 8 band event, the field's wide open, but which of the entered acts will win out tomorrow? Here's some extra info on each act before this battle goes down!

Aldous: One of the five acts making their battle of the bands debut tomorrow, Nick Luck's alternative rock project Aldous will break out that strange electric taste that fans may have seen via the recent albums "Change2" and "The Fair", but many recent Facebook postings have been reasonably cryptic. How will Nick and company sound tomorrow, and will they impress fans to secure a podium finish?

Bryan Brown: Arguably the biggest dark horse in tomorrow's field, former Coverfly bassist Bryan Brown will go solo for a set in tomorrow's battle, but I can't confirm much about what he'll be playing on his own. How will his solo performance sound? Is he taking a huge detour from his Coverfly work? Be at The Speak Easy to see how he does!

The Din: One day removed from their third battle of the bands appearance, alternative hard rock trio The Din will look to continue improving on their 2015 battle results, where the then-Mike Haggith & The Din (with Curtis McKenzie on guitar) didn't place in the VM Radio or Speak Easy Battles. With their new sound firmly in place, and with Tammy Hill now on guitar, can The Din improve on last year's run? Show your support via their own Facebook event page for this battle!

Eclipse: This new modern hard rock quartet will be making their battle of the bands debut tomorrow, though 3/4ths of the band competed in both of last year's battles with classic metal quartet Project 421 & The Din, missing out on a podium finish in each. Less than a week out from their own VM Radio Battle semifinal, can the 421 side project channel members' past battle success with Haggith to place in the top 3?

Heavy Head: With just two concert appearances (including yesterday's VM Radio Battle semifinal) under their belts, new local pop/hard rock quartet Heavy Head will look to continue their early surge with a high finish in this fan-voted battle, and with battle winners from The Suicide Kings, The Bear Hunters, and Winkstinger in their lineup, they definitely have the experience to go far... but will they tomorrow? Show your support via following their own Facebook event page also!

Jack Spades: Surprisingly making their battle of the bands debut tomorrow, punk/metal standouts Jack Spades will try to jack the battle as well as the planet in their set, and with battle alumni from bands like T-Rex Manning, The Bear Hunters, and Soldiers of Misfortune in their ranks, don't sleep on them! With a guest set at the VM Radio Battle coming next week as well, will they snag a top 3 position tomorrow?

Jesse Merineau: Joining The Din as the only returning acts from last year's Speak Easy Battle, local/Toronto indie rock musician Jesse Merineau won't be alone for his set this year, as he's enlisted local power pop/glam rock trio Caroline Divine to back him up this year, with songs from his upcoming debut CD expected to be played. Jesse didn't make the podium last year, but will some "divine" intervention do the trick in 2016? Follow Jesse's run via his own Facebook event page!

Pillory: After a two year hiatus from the stage, local death/thrash metallers Pillory will at last return with their new trio lineup for this year's Speak Easy Battle, with last year's battle co-promoter Jordan Leach (ex-Haggith) now on bass, and now sans a second guitarist. Fans are already eagerly awaiting their return and their heavier death metal-influenced sound, but can Pillory surge to the the top of the field tomorrow night?

Like last year, TOMORROW'S highest voted band will win the top prize of $400, with second place receiving $200, and third place netting $100. Twin City Sound & Entertainment will be on hand to provide professional sound for each of the 8 competing acts, and while each band only has a short set, expect lots of talent to be on display! For attendees, admission is $5, bands begin playing at 10:00 PM, and while this is generally a 19+ concert, underage Algoma University students may attend the event if they have valid student ID with them. And of course, you can also see Eclipse and (non-competitively) Jack Spades at this coming Wednesday's last semifinal of the VM Radio Battle of the Bands, while The Din, Eclipse, and/or Heavy Head may also be back for the finals on March 23rd, pending how things go tonight & next week. Last year's Speak Easy Battle proved to be a bellwether for the VM Radio Battle results in terms of the common bands' finishes, but will that prove to be the case again in 2016?

Also, note that Heavy Head's Jesse Cook, Daniel Horton, and Johnny Belanger will all be pulling double duty tomorrow, as Jesse & Johnny are both in Jack Spades, and Daniel is Eclipse's guitarist. How will that impact their sets, and can any of them bring both of their bands to the podium? This should be an exciting battle, especially given the wide open field that guarantees one competing act it's first battle of the bands victory, but who will get the honours? Will Aldous' creative genre hybrid take them to the top? Is Bryan Brown's solo sound just what the attending fans are looking for? Will The Din improve on last year's battle finishes? Can Eclipse pick up where Project 421 left off with a higher placement? Can Heavy Head live up to their supergroup lineup's past successes? Will Jack Spades jack the $400 top prize in their first battle? Will Jesse Merineau claim a podium spot with Caroline Divine's help? And will Pillory reclaim their presence in the scene tomorrow?

Be at The Speak Easy TOMORROW to find out, visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and we'll see you at The Canadian TONIGHT for night #1 of the VM Radio Battle! Thanks everyone!

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