Thursday, March 10, 2016

The 2016 VM Radio Battle of the Bands Recap (Night #1!!)

(Updated at 5:00 PM) Last night saw the beginning of the second annual VM Radio Battle of the Bands at The Canadian Nightclub, so our recap of last night's events constitutes today's second post, but be sure to check out our latest news/preview post from this morning below! After lots of anticipation, this sophomore event returned yesterday, so what should you know regarding the format? The judges, scoring criteria, and most prize categories are the same as last year, Maxx Entertainment was back to do sound, the layout and scheduling was very similar, and while the turnout was sadly lighter than hoped, all three bands got a good reception from attending fans! In terms of what prizes are available for winners, details on them weren't publically announced last night, but some awards were displayed in the venue as a preview of what bands might receive. Now, let's touch on each band's sets, and remember, as a judge, I will not review the bands or reveal scores, just recap their sets and what everyone in attendance saw and heard.

After a random drawing of the band order, pop punk quartet Stereo North hit the stage for their second battle of the bands appearance, and their set was comprised of 4 originals like "Heart Collider" and "Nobody", and 5 covers from bands ranging from The Foo Fighters to The All American Rejects to... Drake?! If you ever wanted to hear "Hotline Bling" covered by a punk band, they had you covered! Stereo North got a positive early reception, getting many fans going to start the night, but did they win the first semifinal? Also, they were the only band who had a banner up for their set, though Heavy Head's name was on the bass drum. Alternative hard rock trio The Din made their third battle of the bands appearance next, and first with new guitarist Tammy Hill, with the three playing 7 Din originals or Mike Haggith solo songs (including the newer "In Search of the Perfect Moment" and "Out Of My League"), as well as Foo Fighters & City and Colour renditions.

The Din attracted the best crowd of the night, with Mike and Tammy making the most of it by entering the crowd to play on the floor, and Mike also was eager to play to the crowd and joke between sets... but did it put them through to the finals in two weeks? Last up were Heavy Head, the new pop/hard rock band from Suicide Kings, Haggith, and Jack Spades alumni, and they played a short set of 6 songs , including two originals (the Irish-tinged "Mikey Doesn't Whisky" & "5 A.M.") and covers ranging from The Black Crowes to... Walk the Moon?! They weren't lying about the pop rock side of their genre! All wearing a black with bandanas motif, the guys received a positive reception from fans, and responded in kind, though many were left wondering what happened when their version of Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" suddenly fell apart.

After their set, judges Dustin Jones, Rob Speers, and myself tallied the scores, and without giving anything away, we all agreed on the band order, and two of the bands were only separated by three points. With that said, who were the winners on night #1 of this year's VM Radio Battle?

....THE DIN!! Yes, the former Mike Haggith & The Din are in the finals on March 23rd, and no matter what happens then, this is already their best ever battle of the bands finish by far (remember, they didn't make the finals or place in either of last year's battles), so what they've done and worked on in the past year seems to be paying off! This will also Mike's second top-3 finish in a battle, after he drummed with the band Haggith to their runner-up finish at 2013's Rockstar Bar Battle. I won't mention who finished second until the wild card is revealed next week, but everyone put on a great show, and remember to go check out The Din, Heavy Head, week #2 competitors Eclipse, and guest performers Jack Spades at TONIGHT'S second annual Speak Easy Battle of the Bands! A band is guaranteed their first ever battle of the bands victory tonight, and it'll be interesting to hear who the fans voted as the winners, so when we hear the results, we'll let you guys know!

I won't be in attendance for The Speak Easy Battle to avoid showing a bias given that I'm judging 3 of the bands in the VM Radio Battle, but hopefully Sault Online is in attendance again to cover the event! After that, the VM Radio Battle semifinals return on Wednesday with Eclipse taking on K.I.C.K. for a finals spot, and we'll also learn with of the three non-winners will be joining them as a wild card, so be at The Canadian then to find out who wins, and to take in some Jack Spades action! As for our videos, I got each band's first song, so here's Stereo North playing "Fall Before Me", The Din playing "Flux", and Heavy Head covering Walk the Moon's "Shut Up & Dance"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post and this month's Defunct Local Band Profile tomorrow, if all goes well! Thanks everyone!

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