By: Tyler Dubreuil

Alex Harea, 20, led the Harea band to victory at Algonquin’s battle of the bands. The three-piece group featured Alex on vocals and guitar, Mike Giamberardino on percussions and Andrew Richer, bassist and backing vocals.

Harea Band, a three piece group with Algonquin student Andrew Richer playing bass, took the title of this year’s Battle of the Bands, qualifying them for the next round of competitions.

The 2013 edition of Algonquin’s Battle of the Bands kicked off in the Observatory on March 12, showcasing bands from the Ottawa area.

The Observatory, packed with exuberant music fans, saw five bands each get a turn to play a 20-minute set. Blast from the Sun, 60 Glisson Road, Columbia Columbia, S.A.G.E. and Harea Band all graced the stage for a chance to continue towards the Central Canadian last band standing competition.

The bands featured in the show, had to have at least one member from Algonquin to qualify for the competition. The winner, would be decided by a group of judges who voted based on attributes like; originality, proficiency, style, and stage presence

Alex Harea, the vocalist and guitar player for Harea band, started his career with open mics and cafes around the city, and started performing solo at 18 years old.

“Both of my parents are musicians,” Alex said. “I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember.”

The three-piece band has surprisingly only been rehearsing together for four months. “Mike and Andrew have been playing music together forever,” Alex said, explaining the chemistry the group has found in the short period they’ve been together.”It’s really cool playing (live) with guys I really get along with”

Blast from the Sun took the stage first and set the bar high with a blend of alternative rock, blues, reggae and funk. The band, led by front man Justin Guindon had a lively performance and looked as comfortable on stage as they did off.

Between the sets, classic songs like Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean rang through the speakers.

60 Glisson Road took the stage next, and made sure the judges weren’t going to have an easy decision. With a unique blend of blues, jazz, alternative and hard rock, they got the crowd singing along.

Columbia Columbia, with an alternative-grunge-funk sound, was next. Their extremely energetic performance closed with a cover of the infamous Rage Against the Machine song, Bulls On Parade.

S.A.G.E., the fourth band to take the stage, and the first with a true heavy-metal sound, got members of the audience on their feet and rocking out.

At this point the audience seems to be delighted by the performances.

“(The biggest surprise) probably was how talented every band was,” Holden Croucher, a 20-year old Music student at Algonquin said, “they all look like they’ve played live lots”

Finally Harea band came out to play. With a pop-soul-rock vibe, they soon garner the attention of a large crowd at the front.

In the end all five bands played incredible sets to enthused fans, but there could only be one winner.

The next leg of the competition will see Harea Band travel down to Brock University in St. Catherines. The show brings the band closer towards the Central Canadian last band standing competition. The winner of the Central Canadian competition earns touring rights to 12 colleges in Ontario. This will be Harea Band’s first show outside the city.