What: Battle of the Bands finals
When: Friday, March 14, 8 p.m.
Where: Wildwood Pacific Bistro (Whistler Tennis Club)
The competition is heating up, as six
performers have been selected to compete in the finals for the third annual Sea
to Sky Battle of the Bands.
While eight solo artists and seven
bands made it to the semi-finals, only three solo artists — Mike McDonald of
Whistler, Jeremy Thom of Whistler, and Papa Josh of Pemberton — and three bands
— Animal Nation of Whistler, Jon Shrier Band of Whistler and Pemberton, and
Slaughter Hollow of Squamish — will compete this weekend.
It seems the judges were able to cut
through their own personal music preferences, selecting finalists that cover a
wide range of musical genres, from the Jon Shrier Band’s smooth acoustic rock
sounds to Slaughter Hollow’s heavy metal riffs.
“I came into this event not knowing
whether to expect, wailing cats or polished artists,” event judge Byron James
from Echo One Productions said in a press release. “I quickly realized that the
musical talent was good quality, which gives me high hopes for the future of
music in the Sea to Sky corridor.”
The competition was born three years
ago, after organizers for two local community groups dedicated to creating
events for young adults — Late & Unique Nighttime Alternatives (LUNA) and
Club Shred — realized there were a lot of young musicians in town that needed
“It was just a small event in the
youth centre, where we have the skate ramp as a stage and packed it with
bands,” said Kiran Pal-Pross, LUNA Coordinator, “…Then the second year we
decided to open it up to Sea to Sky musicians, and it became the Sea to Sky
Battle of the Bands.”
The competition has evolved quite a
bit since then. This year, they aimed to produce a more professional event,
asking competitors to submit bios and demo tapes, which Pal-Pross says has
helped to improve the quality of performance and competition.
“The sound was a lot better, the
venue was good — it all came together really well.”
Steige “Tall Man” Turner and Mike
“Armadillo Slim” Armitage are the men behind the music of Animal Nation, one of
the groups competing in the final round. Armitage says they are hesitant to
label themselves as a hip-hop or rap group, because “a lot of hip-hop sucks,”
and they actually draw their influences from many different types of music.
“It’s very jazz-based, very mellow,”
said Armitage, “…The songs are about stuff, it’s not just rhymes.”
They’ve competed in the Battle of the
Bands every year, and have definitely seen the competition change.
“Compared to the first year they did
it and now, they’re really making it a lot harder for the bands. You have to
send in MP3s of recorded songs, a press kit, bio, pictures, a stage plot — I’m
sure that definitely deterred a lot of people from entering, so the people that
were in it definitely really wanted to be there.”
There’s also a lot more on the line
this year. First place winners in both the solo and band category will take
home a hefty prize pack valued at over $5,000, which contains a demo recording
deal, demo critiques by a national music industry agent and a national
producer, the opening spot for a headliner, a professional photo session,
air-time and an interview on Mountain FM, and an artist marketing and
development consultation deal.
“To have a national agent hear your
demo and give feedback on it, to actually contact an agent in the first place
is really hard to do, so because of our contacts through these sponsors, we’ve
been able to do that for them,” explained Pal-Pross.
Runners up will receive an interview
and air-time on Mountain FM’s Afternoon Show, as well as a $50 gift certificate
from Long & McQuade. An Audience Choice Award will also be awarded to the
band or solo artist who wins the popular vote.
Friday’s finals will be judged by
members from REMG Entertainment, the largest urban music concert promoter in
Canada; C.I.A. Talent Management Agency, based out of Philadelphia, offering
representation for 15 major label and independent rock acts; StageCoach Theatre
Arts, a worldwide theatre school; and Echo One Productions, the producer of
The 2008 Sea to Sky Battle of the Bands is produced by LUNA and Club Shred, and is sponsored by Echo One Productions, REMG Entertainment, Pique Newsmagazine, Mountain FM, The Palace Recording Studio, Wildwood Pacific Bistro, and Kevin James Day Photography.