The Algoma University Battle of the Bands (December 1st, 2009)
Background: The Algoma University Student Union and The United Way of Sault Ste. Marie (in cooperation with local punk standouts The Inner City Surfers) joined forces to hold a battle of the bands at The Speak Easy at Algoma University on December 1st, 2009, with all proceeds from admission going to local United Way charities. Five bands were confirmed to play four songs each, after which judges would award prizes to the top three bands, though judging criteria was not announced prior to the event. Despite running concurrently with the second day of the Kiss Battle of the Bands, a good response resulted from this battle and it's small but talented lineup of competitors.
Prizes: The first place band would receive $300 cash, a $100 Joey Calzone’s gift card, a $25 Case’s Music gift card, 4 hours of studio time, and the right to open for The Inner City Surfers at their Christmas Bash at The Speak Easy on December 22nd. Second place received $200 and a $50 Boston Pizza gift card, while 3rd place would receive half of that: $100 and a $25 Boston Pizza gift card. The second place band would also get first dibs at replacing the winning act at the Inner City Surfers show if they couldn't make it.
Competitors: Though five bands were initially confirmed, only four competed, with punk-inspired music dominating the event. The participating bands included local death metal quintet Bring The Fallen, ska punk quartet Creedon & The Animal Detectives (previously better known as Good Morning Gorilla), local drum & bass/punk trio The Fury, and then-Toronto based hardcore punk/cello trio RedD Monkey.
Results: When all was said and done, Bring The Fallen claimed victory at this battle, marking their second straight 1st place finish in a local battle of the bands. The Fury finished second, while RedD Monkey took home third place, and Creedon & The Animal Detectives rounded out the band order.
Aftermath: Bring The Fallen quickly made it to The Canadian Nightclub following their performance at this battle, to perform a two song set at that night's Kiss Battle of the Bands, although the success wouldn't repeat itself, as they did not advance to that battle's finals. Undeterred, Bring The Fallen continued their local success levels with a number of high profile gigs, including a further battle of the bands victory at May 2010's Downtown Showdown event, before dissolving in April 2011 (though they held a one-off reunion in July 2013.) The Fury remained a popular sight at local concerts of varying genre types until they went inactive in mid-2011 (however, a 2014 reunion never got off the ground), while RedD Monkey released three studio albums and headlined many notable concerts locally and in Southern Ontario before they went on hiatus in 2014, though they did play a Toronto reunion gig and posthumously release their final album last year. Finally, Creedon & The Animal Detectives did not see the same success levels that they experienced as Good Morning Gorilla, and they quietly disbanded in 2010.
Some Notable Performers' Newer Bands (Metal/punk in italics, ex-members noted with an *):
The Apocalypse Afterparty (Paul Stanghetta from The Fury & Steve Mozarowski* from RedD Monkey)
The Bear Hunters (Josh Stephney from Bring The Fallen)
Changing Waves (Terrence Gomes from Creedon & The Animal Detectives)
Deter (Josh McNally from The Fury)
Infinity Grinder (Terrence Gomes from Creedon & The Animal Detectives)
Kaepora Gaebora (Dan Souliere from Bring The Fallen)
March Into Regression (Josh Stephney, Dan Souliere, and Travis St. Amour from Bring The Fallen)
The Moves (Josh McNally from The Fury)
The Northern Tragedy (Terrence Gomes from Creedon & The Animal Detectives)
Theriac (Joe Bumbacco from The Fury; Based out of Toronto)
- The planned fifth band to have taken part at this battle would have been local punk quartet The Scary Uncles, who notably finished in second place at the Skid Row Battle of the Bands at The Speak Easy the previous year. However, they had to pull out prior to the event due to scheduling conflicts, though they were later added as an additional opener for the Inner City Surfers concert on December 22nd anyway.
- This was Bring The Fallen's only local battle of the bands victory to feature their entire lineup for their performance. Then-drummer Joey Graham was absent for their YMCA battle set as The Undead Warriors that March, while bassist Nolan Rainville was absent from their Downtown Showdown appearance the following year.
- Despite winning this battle of the bands, Bring The Fallen would later drop out of the Inner City Surfers concert for unannounced reasons a couple of days before it happened. Though contest rules said that the second place band would open if the winners couldn't perform, no evidence online suggests that The Fury were able to play in Bring The Fallen's place. It's also not known if anything became of Bring The Fallen's recording time that they won at this event.
- This battle of the bands was severely overshadowed by the Kiss Battle of the Bands, whose second night took place on the same day as this battle. As a result, only 65 fans showed up to cheer on the participating bands, which was a 70% drop in attendance from the Skid Row battle at The Speak Easy the previous year. All was not lost though, as $576 was raised for charity at the event.
- Judges for this battle included former Algoma University Student Union president Vanessa Gastaldo and member Cristina Guzzo, along with an unidentified United Way representative. Gsis Murphy drummer Anthony Fabiano & Inner City Surfers frontman Dustin Jones were also slated to judge this battle, but they both had to pull out due to other commitments (Anthony was playing with Gsis Murphy at the Kiss battle that night, and Dustin was touring in Southern Ontario with his band Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide over that time period.)
- This marked the first of two four-band battles of the bands in Sault Ontario to feature Bring The Fallen winning first place and The Fury claiming second place. This same order happened again at the Downtown Showdown battle in May 2010, which ironically saw both bands employ different bassists than they had at the Algoma battle.
- Already linked by sharing former Smeltzer members, unique genres, and creative instrument arrangements, The Fury and RedD Monkey were further linked in mid-2010 after The Fury's Joe Bumbacco replaced Kevin Overton as RedD Monkey's drummer on a temporary (and later permanent) basis. Joe remained a member of both bands until The Fury went inactive in mid-2011.
- Planned judges Anthony Fabiano & Dustin Jones would both later be involved in battles of the bands in differing roles. Anthony competed in April 2013's Rock 'N Roar Battle of the Bands in Spanish with his hard rock band Griphook (though they did not place in that event), while Dustin would finally serve as a battle judge at the VM Radio Battle of the Bands in March 2015, as well as a sponsor with his label Tidal Records.
- Bring The Fallen frontman Josh Stephney would also compete at the Sault Humane Society Battle of the Bands on April 20th, 2012, and the Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands in April 2013, both as guitarist in the local death metal band The Bear Hunters. They finished in 6th & 5th respectively at each, making the final round of the latter. Josh & B.T.F. bandmate Nolan Rainville also competed at the Rockstar Bar Battle in the newer death metal band Giwakwa, though they finished 2nd to The Bear Hunters in the third semifinal night, and missed the final round.
- Creedon & The Animal Detectives drummer Terrence Gomes also competed in the aforementioned Humane Society & Rockstar Bar battles as bassist for Changing Waves and as singer/drummer in The Northern Tragedy respectively. Changing Waves didn't place at the Humane Society Battle in April 2012, while The Northern Tragedy finished third in their Rockstar Bar Battle semifinal the following year, missing the finals.
- The Fury's Josh McNally was also once scheduled to compete with his most recent band The Moves in the Humane Society Battle of the Bands, but they pulled out of the event due to external commitments.
- Though Josh Stephney missed The Bear Hunters' Viva La Battle win at The Canadian Nightclub in November 2013 due to moving out of town, he came back home to take part in their first place prize, an opening set for Bam Margera's Fuckface Unstoppable at The Canadian the following month. The Fury frontman Paul Stanghetta was scheduled to play at this battle as well with his then-band Keep It Lit, but they dropped out due to a band member breaking their arm, and never ended up playing live afterward.
- After The Northern Tragedy went on hiatus, Terrence Gomes returned to The Speak Easy to play in March 2015's Speak Easy Battle of the Battle of the Bands with his recent alternative hard rock duo Infinity Grinder, though they did not place in that event. The Bear Hunters finished in third place in that same battle, though Josh Stephney was out of town and unable to attend.
- The Fury & RedD Monkey frontmen Paul Stanghetta & Steve Mozarowski (or, Z and X) made the finals of March 2015's VM Radio Battle of the Bands at The Canadian Nightclub in their rap/metal quartet The Apocalypse Afterparty (with Steve on drums), eventually finishing in fourth place, and playing some old Fury originals in the process. The Bear Hunters also finished in second place at this battle as well, losing by just two points, but again, Josh Stephney could not attend the event.
None known (general videos of this battle's top 3 bands can be seen below)
The official Facebook event page
Post-battle fallout from The United Way
I hope you guys liked this look back at one of many recent local battles of the bands! Sure, this one wasn't well attended, but it was out of their hands, and a lot of great music and charity fundraising was had! Next Friday, we'll profile the Sault College/Scotties Tournament of Hearts battle from February 2010, featuring a rematch of three bands from the Kiss battle. What went down at that battle? Find out next week, and stay tuned for my review of "Woods V" TOMORROW, along with more news to come! Thanks everyone!