Thursday, March 17, 2016

The 2016 VM Radio Battle of the Bands Recap (Night 2), Plus Our Review Of Jack Spades' Set!!

As you may remember, last night was the second and last semifinal of this year's VM Radio Battle of the Bands at The Canadian Nightclub, so like last week, here's our recap post from last night's action! Everything had a similar setup from last week's first semifinal, though Case's Music & The Rad Zone both had banners up on stage after none were put up last week. The judging panel also looked a little different compared to last week, as Tidal Records head/Rising Tide frontman Dustin Jones was unable to attend night #2 due to outside commitments, so Id Iota frontman/Tidal Records skate team member Christian Lemay filled in as a guest judge. As far as I can tell, this was his first judging role at a battle of the bands, though he competed in at least two with his old band Free Beer. Christian filled in nicely, and also filmed some of the performances last night for his personal Facebook page, so visit his personal Facebook page to give them a look if you're a friend of his!

Also, just as an aside, Dustin Jones and The Rising Tide will play their first announced show of the year TONIGHT at Peddler's Pub in Sudbury! In lieu of recent live drummers Clint Wilson or Cooper Hannahson, The Tide have enlisted The Lake Effect's Chris Johns to fill in behind the kit tonight, as per personal Facebook postings. He's a fitting choice given their own Tidal Records ties! Click here for more details, and hopefully we see The Rising Tide back on the local stage soon!

After a random drawing, the first band competing last night was newer local modern/hard rock quartet Eclipse, who played a 9 song set including 5 covers (from bands like System of a Down and Led Zeppelin) and 4 original songs, including the brand new "Crywolf" (no space) and three songs recycled from Curtis McKenzie & Daniel Horton's old band Haggith ("Metal Cage", "Wasted", and "Silver Bullet".) Though Curt's voice was affected by a cold, they got a good reception from attending fans, and the smoke machine didn't hurt at all, but did they advance to next week's finals? The last competing band was local indie rock quartet K.I.C.K. in their battle of the bands debut, and they played a set of 7 original songs (like "Drift", "Burning Desire", and "Time It Out") and covers of One Republic and The Weeknd, with a brief Justin Bieber(?!) aside in the former!

Featuring all four band members in bandanas, K.I.C.K. seemed to win over the crowd, though they didn't have as many fans on the floor as Eclipse had. Before we get into the final scores from last night, local punk/metal quintet Jack Spades took the stage for their second concert of the year, and as they weren't competing in the battle (frontman J.D. Pearce is promoting the event), I got to shed my judge label for their set, making this my first proper concert review with photos since September! Jack Spades played original songs like "Motorwolf", "To The Left", and "Frederick" alongside Ripcordz and SNFU covers, and while the fan turnout on the floor wasn't terribly high, J.D. came out onto the floor to interact with fans and sing with his usual punk-tinged aggression!  Everyone was on form last night from when I last saw Jack Spades, with Justin Lam strong on bass as usual, and Jesse Cook laid down some solid guitar solos throughout!

It was nice to get back into the concert reviewer mode for Jack Spades' set, and fans seemed to enjoy everything! Also, J.D. noted that their first song last night, "Crossroads", was filmed at their Speak Easy Battle set last week by guest judge Christian Lemay for an upcoming Shaw TV segment, so we'll have to see how that turns out when it airs! As for last night's battle results, judges Rob Speers, Christian, and myself tabulated the scores after K.I.C.K.'s set, and while I won't reveal individual scores, I will say that we all agreed on who won, so who won last night's semifinal?

....K.I.C.K.! Yes, the Keep It Cool Kids have punched their ticket for next week's finals, giving this quartet a guaranteed podium finish in their first local battle! Not bad considering that the guys haven't been in any recent battles in this or another band, and we'll see how they do next week! As for the wild card spot, who will join K.I.C.K. and week 1 winners The Din in the finals? ....ECLIPSE! That's right, we're in for a finals rematch of last night's competitors (and of siblings Aaron & Fred Dunn), and Eclipse are guaranteed to at least match their 3rd place finish in last week's Speak Easy Battle! Curtis and Daniel could also match or better their 2nd place run in 2013's Rockstar Bar Battle with Haggith, and the finals will see them face their former Haggith/Din bandmate Mike Haggith, so there's an interesting wrinkle for the finals as well! As for the other results, I'll confirm that Stereo North were the second place band last week, and Heavy Head were third, so you can fill in the overall rankings from there given the amount of bands.

Someone is guaranteed their first battle of the bands victory next week, so be sure to attend the VM Radio Battle of the Bands finals on Wednesday between The Din, Eclipse, and K.I.C.K.! That show will be at 9:00 PM with a special admission fee of $10 unless you already have your full pass for all nights of the battle. It'll be a great night, so definitely consider coming out, stay tuned for some extra videos from last night, and thanks again to Christian for filling in last night! You were a great judge, and hopefully we get your input next week in some form! As for our media, click here for our photos of Jack Spades' set, and for our videos, you may notice a slightly different angle on the competitors' videos, as I had to get a new tripod to mount my camera with after my original tripod was lost at the venue last week. My new tripod is much better and more customizable though, as you'll see for our Jack Spades video, where I experimented with it's panning and expandable size.

I might play around with a special angle for the finals next week, but we'll approach that then, and as for our videos, here's Eclipse covering Seether's "Remedy", K.I.C.K. playing their song "Wanted", and Jack Spades playing both "Rise" & "Breakneck Speed"! That's all for today, but stay tuned for last month's poll results and our newest poll tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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