Down time, Events, General, People, Student Life

Battle of the Bands: U of T Style

Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending the Winterfest 2016: Battle of the Bands, which took place at the Annex venue, Lee’s Palace. The Battle of the Bands event is a competition for U of T bands to win a prize of five hundred dollars and a set at Fireball 2016!  If you haven’t heard about this totally epic musical battle sesh you should…

  1. Consider creating a Facebook account, if only to keep up with the never ending stream of FB invites to UofT affiliated events (that are actually fun to go to).
  2. Continue reading, because I am about to give you a recap.

Upon entering Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor St. West / a popular venue for musicians and people alike whose music preferences would 100% offend your grandmother) I was reminded the battle of the bands scene in the movie Scott Pilgram vs. the World. The atmosphere of the venue was awesome in a grungy underground teenage angsty way, even if the smell distinctly reminded me of Queen Street’s “Black Market” vintage store. Various smells aside, I was in for a night of great music, dancing and a general good time.

Competing Bands

Spaceship Thoughts Founded in October 2015, by Sky Casket, Spoon Johnson and Lump the Potato (who is unsurprisingly, truly a root vegetable) the sounds of Spaceship Thoughts are unlike anything I had ever heard before. They go for an “acoustic rap” vibe which was as interesting as it sounds. Despite being the youngest band at the battle, they rocked their first live performance! The lead singer was dressed up as a traditional 90’s “bro” complete with a popped collar, pink polo shirt, exceptionally spiky hair and two ties to really finish off the look.

This interview-style video done by The Varsity will give you a glimpse at the personalities of the bands who competed in the Battle!

Northern Riot By the time Northern Riot took the stage, Lee’s Palace was really filling up and the crowd seemed to be really enjoying themselves. Northern Riot is a band comprised of Thomas Thurley on vocals, Christian Beattie on guitar, Cole Hauer playing bass guitar and  Connor Santer on the drums. Their lively performance reminded me of an 80’s rock band, and the guys looked to be having a great time up on stage! You can check out some of Northern Riot’s music here.

A photo of Northern Riot on stage.

Northern Riot during their performance. You can see at this point in the night, I was far back from the stage. #Blurry

The Fallers This rockin’ performance was my personal favourite, but I am a little biased I know the lead singer and guitarist of The Fallers, Garrett Olson. Other members of the band include, Alex Lakusta on bass and Mackenzie Read on drums. Throughout the performance, everyone around me kept commenting on how The Fallers were heavily influenced by the Strokes (a great thing in my eyes)! It was during this gig that I was able to squeeze my way up to the front of the venue to take some photos and see the lead singer, Garrett playing guitar on the floor of the stage during their last song. Like Garrett, the crowd was really feeling the music and I was betting that The Fallers would take home the winning title.

A photograph of The Fallers band members with a grungy background, looking very indie.

The Fallers being very hip and very cool.

A photo of Garrett and Alex on stage holding their guitars and singing. The photo is kinda blurry.

Garrett and Alex of The Fallers rocking out on stage. Apologies for the mid-dancing photography…

The Implications This was the last band to play, and their sound was pop-alt-indie which was very well-received by the crowd. All the guys in the band seemed to contribute to vocals, however they each had a specialty, with Julian Muia as rhythm guitar, Daniel Konikoff on lead guitar, Ryan Levine as bass guitarist and Mitchell Stuart on drums. By playing TLC covers and the famous Cha Cha Slide, The Implications were able to get everyone at Lee’s up, dancing and having an amazing time. I mean, when the Cha Cha Slide comes on, it’s pretty impossible to not dance!

A photo of The Implications in old-school leather jackets in some sort of diner.

At this point in the night my phone’s battery had enough with all the photo taking, and quit. So here is a nice promotional band photo. Taken from The Implications’ Facebook page: Credit: Aria Mehrpour.

The Verdict: This was an amazing musical event and I am so happy I was able to attend along with 300+ fellow music enthusiasts. All the bands showed incredible talent, but one of them seemed to catch the hearts of the crowd and that band was… drum roll please… THE IMPLICATIONS.

Overall, the night was super wonderful and I look forward to next year’s Battle of the Bands during Winterfest 2017.  

How was your Winterfest 2016, U of T? Did you go to any cool events last week? If so, comment below!