Friday, April 13, 2012

Battle Of The Bands Rewind Mini-Series: Downtown Showdown

It's time to end the initial run of our Battle of the Bands Rewind Mini-Series, and one week off from the first Sault Ontario battle of the bands in almost two years, we're looking at the most recent one today! As we've done over the past six weeks, we're looking at the circumstances, bands, results, happenings, and aftermath of this local battle, and I apologize for the lack of photos of the placing bands (Bring The Fallen aside.) Though only 4 bands competed, a lot went down, so read on below for what you need to know, and check out previews of this weekend's metal/hard rock concerts and some cancellation notes in the post below this one! (Updated on January 28th, 2015)
Downtown Showdown (May 28th, 2010)

Background: On May 28th, 2010, the Sault Youth Association (in cooperation with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre) held the Downtown Showdown battle of the bands at The Oddfellows Hall as a non-profit promotional event to help give bands and local youths a better understanding of entrepreneurship and self-employment in the local arts & entertainment sectors. Four bands were chosen to compete, and each performed three songs for the attendees, after which judges picked the top 3 bands to receive varying prizes. To compete in Downtown Showdown, each band had to have an average of age of 25 or less for it's members, in keeping with the Sault Youth Association's target demographic.

Prizes: The winning band would receive a cover story in The Sault Youth Association's free quarterly newspaper The Fresh Magazine and a photo shoot to go along with it, as well as recording time at a local studio. The second place act received a $100 Music Depot gift certificate and a professional photo shoot, while the third place band also received a photography session of their own. Each placing band also won various gift cards, including ones from Future Shop, although details on those prizes weren't elaborated on prior to the battle.

Competitors: Four young local bands from widely varying genres signed up to compete at Downtown Showdown, including death metal quintet Bring The Fallen, drum & bass/punk trio The Fury, experimental hard rockers SBD, and indie rock quintet The Tenagens.

Results: Bring The Fallen won their third battle of the bands in a 14 month span by claiming top spot at Downtown Showdown, with The Fury finishing in second place for a second straight battle. The Tenagens ended up in the third position, while SBD finished in fourth overall.

Aftermath: Bring The Fallen continued to sporadically play live concerts, including many of the early Roosevelt Hotel metal nights, until their disbandment in April 2011 following numerous breakup rumours, though they reunited for a one-off gig in July 2013. The Fury weren't far behind, going inactive in their own right by the summer of 2011, though they did briefly reunite in 2014. The Tenagens would be a frequent sight at many concerts through mid-2011, though aside from a brief mid-2012 return, they've largely been inactive. SBD would re-release their debut CD "Sonic Experiments" later that year and would play at scattered live dates through 2010, though activity drastically slowed in 2011, and they're now defunct.

Some Notable Performers' Newer Bands (Metal/hard rock in italics):
The Apocalypse Afterparty (Paul Stanghetta from The Fury)
The Bear Hunters (Josh Stephney* from Bring The Fallen)
Five Oceans (Patrick Dal Cin from The Tenagens; Based out of London)
Giwakwa (Josh Stephney* from Bring The Fallen)
Infinity Grinder (Brad Griffith from SBD)
No Arrow (Dann Pichette from SBD)
Paterson Hall (Josh White, Jesse Harding, and Patrick Bonne from The Tenagens; Based out of Ottawa)
RedD Monkey (Joe Bumbacco from The Fury)
Shit Liver (Mike Kyle from Bring The Fallen' lineup that night)
Sykotyk Rampage (Tony Briglio from The Fury)

  • The judges for Downtown Showdown included then-Turner Up guitarist and long-time Rad Zone staple Len Ward, local artist & Economy Studs member Robbie Adamson, and Emma Piirtoniemi from the local Youth Advisory Committee. Len would later return to battle judging at the Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands in April 2013.
  • Keeping with the youth-friendly nature of this battle, organizers offered free admission for all ages, refreshment sales, and prize draws at Downtown Showdown, with unsold pizza being freely distributed to attendees after the winners were announced.
  • Bring The Fallen won their third & final battle of the bands out of four tries at Downtown Showdown, dating back to their YMCA Battle win in their March 2009 live debut. Similarly to that battle, Bring The Fallen performed at Downtown Showdown without a band member, as bassist Nolan Rainville was out of town. Filling in for him was former OBCD bassist Mike Kyle, who would later become a prominent sight at local metal concerts for his work in the death metal trio Shit Liver.
  • Results repeated themselves in the upper half of this battle, as just like at the Algoma University Battle in December 2010, Bring The Fallen & The Fury finished in first & second place each. In another ironic twist, both groups had different bassists the second time around, with Mike Kyle filling in for Nolan Rainville, and Tony Briglio playing for The Fury as a replacement for the departed Josh McNally.
  • Bring The Fallen's interview in The Fresh Magazine would be part of their fall 2010 issue, where the interviewed band member(s) discussed their battle of the bands success, what they were looking for out of record labels, the local metal scene & it's future, their unreleased EP, and local concert venues, among other topics. Despite earlier implications, they weren't on the cover for that issue, but a photo from their shoot was included with the article, which you can read at this link. No word ever came out on if Bring The Fallen used the recording time they won at this battle.
  • This would be the last battle of the bands to take place in Sault Ontario until the Sault Humane Society Battle of the Bands on April 20th, 2012, a break of almost two years after seeing at least 9 battle of the bands take place in Sault Ontario between 2007 & 2010. Only one performer from Downtown Showdown (Bring The Fallen frontman Josh Stephney) performed at this battle, as The Bear Hunters' then-rhythm guitarist, but they fell just a point short of a third place tie.
  • Bring The Fallen's then-guest bassist Mike Kyle almost got a second crack at a local battle of the bands in June 2012, as he was originally lined up to play the Battle For The Blood with his current band Shit Liver at The Roosevelt Hotel that month. However, they quietly dropped out of the event for unknown reasons around the time of the battle's date change to June 19th.
  • Two performers from this battle (Bring The Fallen's Josh Stephney & The Fury's Tony Briglio) returned to compete at The Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands' last 3 band-semifinal on April 17th, 2013, with Tony playing bass for Sykotyk Rampage, and Josh playing guitar for The Bear Hunters & fronting Giwakwa. The Bear Hunters won and made the finals (where they finished 5th overall), with second place Giwakwa and third place Sykotyk Rampage falling short of making the finals themselves.
  • The Fury frontman Paul Stanghetta almost competed at Viva La Battle at The Canadian Nightclub on November 13th, 2013 with then-band Keep It Lit, but they dropped out on short notice due to a member breaking their arm, and quietly dissolved the following year without ever playing live. Though The Bear Hunters won the battle, the aforementioned Josh Stephney did not compete with them due to moving to Brampton a few months prior, but he did join them to take part in their first place prize: an opening slot for Bam Margera's Fuckface Unstoppable the following month.
  • SBD bassist Brad Griffith returned to battles of the bands when he competed in March 2015's Speak Easy Battle with his recent alternative hard rock duo Infinity Grinder, but they did not place in that event.
  • The Fury bassist Paul Stanghetta at last competed in another battle of the bands when his current band The Apocalypse Afterparty made the finals of the VM Radio Battle of the Bands at The Canadian Nightclub in March 2015, where they finished in fourth place, and covered old Fury originals in their set. The Bear Hunters finished in second in the same battle (and in third place at the Speak Easy battle as well), but Josh Stephney was out of town for both.
Bring The Fallen playing their original "Stand Before"
SBD playing their instrumental "Ess"

Sources/More Info:
Downtown Showdown's Facebook event page
The Sault Youth Association's press release on Downtown Showdown
And so ends our first run of this series! I'll continue to update the entries on these 7 local battles as things are discovered, corrected, or change, so I'll of course update you guys as I do that to ensure they're 100% accurate. Barring the obtainment of sufficient info to warrant an older battle addition (i.e. a Bon Soo battle, the other Case's Music battles, any in Sault Michigan, etc.), our next entry to this series won't be until April 2013, when we look back at next week's Sault Humane Society battle, but until then, go see it at The Grand Theater this coming Friday! I hope you guys enjoyed our looks back at these battles of the bands, and stay tuned for a new news post either tonight or early tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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