Three student bands performed and competed for cash prizes at the Tim Horton’s Brier Patch in the Aberdeen Pavilion on March 8.
The bands are mainly formed by students from Algonquin who are in the introduction to music industry arts program.
The previous Thursday, the Observatory hosted a battle of the bands, where four bands competed for the three spots at the nation-wide broadcasted event. And while the actual bands won’t be transmitted, the venue provided a good platform for the students to perform.
“It’s a great experience,” said introduction to music industry arts coordinator Lou Dimillo. “It gives the kids great exposure.”
Besides having the opportunity to play in a much larger venue than they’re accustomed to, the bands were competing for prizes of $500, $200 and $100 for first, second and third place.
In first place came TBD – as in To Be Decided – who are an unusually large six-member band that formed and started practicing three weeks before this performance. All of the members are first-year students who met at the beginning of this school year.
However, they conceded their prize money to the second place band, Lost at Sea, who played original songs during their set and one cover. They have an EP out and have been playing together since they were in high school, but have known each other since growing up together in Russell Ont.
The Skanks, who came in third place, have been a band for little longer than three months. They also met in their program in 2015.
This was the biggest venue the bands have ever played in.
“It wasn’t as crowded as we expected it to be. But the equipment was beautiful, the stage was gorgeous, the sound was good,” said Joey Markhauser, the frontman for The Skanks. “It was a lot of fun.”
The Aberdeen Pavilion didn’t hold a large audience for the college bands at first – slowly but surely, more people trickled in to listen.
All the bands were judged by a panel of music buffs basing their assessments on musical ability, performance skill and overall entertainment.
Among them was industry veteran Les Emmerson, a former member of The Five Man Electrical Band. Emmerson congratulated all the bands and encouraged them to challenge themselves by incorporating more harmonies and musical dynamics.
“My favourite thing about this is seeing these kids getting into it in the first place,” said Emmerson. “They are enjoying it, and they’re a little bit afraid. But every time you play you become less afraid and more confident. They’re very shy, but in about a year you wouldn’t even recognize them.”