Blooming talent to be showcased at battle of the bands

Up-and-coming Kamloops bands will compete at campus pub for cash, studio and stage time

Trying to break into the music industry can be tough, but five Kamloops bands will have the chance to get a leg up in the local music scene as they compete in The Battle for the Great White at Heroes Pub.

The battle will start at 7:30 p.m. on March 26. Each band will have 20 minutes to perform while three judges grade them on their music, interaction with the audience, quality of performance and presentation.

Nick Owen, Zach Smith, Jared Wilman of The Crooked Fronts and Jared Doherty of The Caspians will compete in the Battle for the Great White. (Tayla Scott/The Omega)

Nick Owen, Zach Smith, Jared Wilman of The Crooked Fronts and Jared Doherty of The Caspians will compete in the Battle for the Great White. (Tayla Scott/The Omega)

At the end of the night the band in first place will receive $200, five hours of complimentary recording time in Perry’s Recording Studio and the opportunity to open for Shred Kelly at The Great White Hootenanny on April 8 at Heroes Pub. Second place will take home a $100 prize.

Both the battle and the hootenanny were organized as a class project

by a group of third-year tourism students.

“That’s the best part about running events in the tourism program – you can only learn so much theory and then you just have to jump right in feet first. You have to pull off the event no matter what,” said Jamie Wheeler, co-organizer of the Battle for the Great White. “We had kids waiting outside last year because we were at capacity, so we’re hoping the exact same will happen this year.”

Ashley McKenzie, the lead vocalist for Bobby Cleveland, said her band has never won a battle before, but they’re hoping to turn that around this year.

“The prize is pretty desirable, we’re trying to work toward our first EP right now. We have half the budget in hand and five hours at Perry’s and the extra $200 would come in pretty handy. Opening for Shred Kelly would be really cool too,” McKenzie said.

“I think being girl-fronted in this town is not that common,” McKenzie said. “Having a rock band with a girl front I think is pretty cool and might set us apart.”

Bobby Cleveland has been playing together since May 2014 and hopes to start touring this summer.

Another band itching to start recording and touring is The Fineprint. The band has been without a drummer for the past year, which has kept them from playing in public. But now that drummer Ty Dempsey has joined, there isn’t anything holding them back.

“I think we have a younger sound. It’s kind of like aggressive alternative rock, so it’s probably well suited for this audience,” said Jarrett Boyetchko, The Fineprint’s vocalist and guitarist.

“We all come from a really different musical background so I think that shapes the music we make,” Boyetchko said.

The other bands that will compete at The Battle for the Great White are The Crooked Fronts, named after the vocalist’s teeth, The Caspians, named after a species of bird, and Octobers, which was named after the U2 album. Tickets will be sold on Wednesday, March 25 for $5 in Old Main or $7 at the door.