Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The 2016 VM Radio Battle Battle Of The Bands Preview (Night #1!)

It's almost time to commence this month's battle of the bands action, so let's kick things off with our extended preview of TOMORROW'S first night of the 2016 VM Radio Battle of the Bands! One year after Gnaeus claimed victory in the premiering multi-night battle, local concert promoter J.D. Pearce has joined forces with VM Radio (and parent company Village Media), Tidal Records, and sponsors Case's Music, The Rad Zone, Maxx Graphics, and Labatt Breweries to bring this huge battle of the bands back to The Canadian Nightclub one year later, with thousands in cash & prize awaiting this year's competitors! As band registrations were disappointingly quieter than last year (partly as each of last year's finalists have been busy in studio lately), this year's battle has just 5 bands split across two semifinals rather than 11 bands over three nights, but a talented lineup of local talent will take the stage over the coming weeks, and expect a similar format and judging criteria for this month's action!

Like last year, thousands in cash & prizes await the finalist bands, and when there's public confirmation of the specific awards, we'll let you know! Click here for a complete rundown of last year's award recipients, just as a reference point. Though not publically confirmed, I believe I can confirm that last year's judges (Tidal Records owner/Rising Tide frontman Dustin Jones, Village Media representative & Elements frontman Rob Speers, and myself) will be back to judge this month's competing bands. It's a privilege and honor to be asked back for year #2, and I again pledge to keep our battle coverage impartial in respect to the nature of the event! After having to take the last 6 months or so off from attending concerts while dealing with family health matters, it will be nice to see some live music again in Sault Ste. Marie, and there's no better place to do it than at this month's battle, so I can't wait to see you all out there!

The schedule will see three bands competing tomorrow, with the other two and a guest band playing next week on March 16th, with all playing sets likely in the 35 minute range once again. Both weeks' winners and the highest scoring runner-up band (as the wild card) will return on Wednesday, March 23rd for the final showdown, but who can you expect to see tomorrow? Here's some info on TOMORROW'S first semifinalists!

The Din: The most battle-tested band in this year's field, the former Mike Haggith & The Din competed in last year's VM Radio & Speak Easy Battles (with Curtis McKenzie on guitar), but they did not place in either event. With their more firmly established alternative hard rock sound & live presence, as well as their new guitarist Tammy Hill, will The Din prove that the third time's a charm by making the finals this year, and can they channel frontman Mike Haggith's past battle success with the band Haggith? Visit their own Facebook event page for this battle to show your support!

Heavy Head: Though technically making their battle debut, new local pop/hard rock quartet Heavy Head have ample battle experience via members' past top-3 runs in local battles with The Suicide Kings, The Bear Hunters, Winkstinger, Soldiers of Misfortune, Haggith, and Punch. However, this is just Heavy Head's second concert, and they're somewhat of an unknown commodity unless you saw their debut. Can Heavy Head pick up where their other projects left off by making the finals? Support them at their own Facebook event page for this battle as well!

Stereo North: In their own sophomore concert set from last year's VM Radio Battle, local pop punk quartet Stereo North were part of an ultra close contest during the second night, where just 8.5 points separated first place from fourth place, so they only narrowly missed a finals spot. With an extra year of live concerts, original songwriting, and fan attention under their belts, can Stereo North improve on last year's battle run by advancing to the finals on March 23rd with their fan favourite originals & covers? To show your support, visit their own Facebook event page for the battle too!

Again, tomorrow's winner will join either Eclipse or K.I.C.K. (next week's competitors) and the wild card band to be announced on March 23rd at The Canadian, and stay tuned in the coming weeks for previews of those nights! And yes, you can also see The Din, Eclipse, Heavy Head, and next week's guest band Jack Spades in THIS THURSDAY'S second annual Speak Easy Battle of the Bands, where they'll compete against four other local act for the $400 top prize, so click here for full details on this fan voted battle at Algoma University, and look for our preview of it tomorrow! For battle attendees, nightly admission for this 19+ battle will be $5 for the semifinals and $10 for the finals, while each night has doors opening at 8:00 PM and the bands starting at 9:00 PM. For complete current details on this year's VM Radio Battle of the Bands, visit the official Facebook event page!

With both of last year's returning bands, and a local supergroup chock full of high placing battle veterans, this should be an exciting night of battle action, and as far as I'm concerned, the field is wide open this year! i'm excited to see how each band does, but will The Din claim a finals spot in their third battle? Will Heavy Head show the Soo what they've got by making the finals in their second show? And can Stereo North pick up where they left off by moving onto the finals in their second battle? Head down to The Canadian TOMORROW for all of the action, and I hope to see you all there! Thanks everyone, and stay tuned for our preview of The Speak Easy Battle next!

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