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Vista Park wins band wars

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Lethbridge has a pretty amazing and diverse music scene, and if the nine bands playing Lethbridge College Stedents Association Band Wars, Feb. 3 at the Barn was any Vista Park won Lethbridge College’s Band wars, Feb. 3. Photo By Richard Ameryindication,  the scene will continue to thrive for quite some time. Young, up and coming rock group Vista Park won the event and took home $800 in cash.

 While choosing the “best” band is the Devil’s work, when they all have their own unique sound and rocked in their own unique way, Vista Park, who ended up in the last slot of the night (slots were chosen by names drawn out of a hat)  impressed judges Ray Burgess- CLRC The Kodiak; Bridgette Yarwood- The Living Luca; Bente Hansen- U of L Music Department; Cameron Skip- Communication Arts and yours truly from L.A. Beat and the Lethbridge Sun Times.

 I had always heard great things about them but had never seen them before. I was impressed by their boundless energy, enthusiasm and musical chops, which are only going to get better with age.
 They even tackled the Who’s “Baba O Riley, and while hitting Roger Daltrey’s high notes can be a challenge, the band did their best with them.

They had the good sized crowd cheering and dancing and eventually called for an encore.
 Cosmic Charley finished second in band wars. Photo by Richard AmeryTheir keyboardist/ percussionist bounced and leaped all over the stage, the bassist played with soul and the band just gelled together through a set of mostly original classic rock tinged music.
The band was surprised to win the event as the lead singer noted “we just wanted to play a bar, we didn’t think we’d win.”

 Because Berserker backed out of the competition to play a paid gig at the Slice, that left one last slot open at the end of the night for Vista Park to play their requested encore.
 One of my favourites, Cosmic Charley ended up taking the seconDead Eye Strobe Light. Photo by Richard Ameryd prize of $200.
 The crowd was digging their funk fuelled Red Hot Chilli Peppers meets the Clash meets the Police free spirited groove, which had a lot of toes tapping and bodies moving.

 They brought up their friend “Charley” up on stage to play some extra tambourine and got the crowd pumped up.
 They had a fantastic, Strat powered west coast groove going on. And as always, the bass playing was impressive.

 Lethbridge garage rock trio the Ketamines, who will be going to South by Southwest in Austin in March in part to having one of their songs used in a Target commercial, opened the night  by the luck of the draw. Their performance was a lot more sedate than usual. But they had a great, delay drenched Stooges influenced garage rock sound throughout their tight set.

 Lead singer/ guitarist Paul Lawton didn’t say much to the audience, being caught up in his own musical world. But they picked up the tempo and the energy levels by the end of their set.

 One band IThe Ketamines bassist Martine Menard.Photo by Richard Amery hadn’t heard before, Dead-Eye Strobe Lights played a solid set of prog rock influenced post grunge music.
 The keyboardist added extra percussion in the form of tapping a bottle with a drum stick. Their songs featured a variety of textures, different styles and tempo changes as lead singer Chris howled. Unfortunately the bass drowned out most of the band throughout their set.

 For something completely different, Red Rum Triumph, aka guitarist/ vocalist Steve Foord and violinist Kelsey Jesperson, this time sporting unusual spooky black make-up, played a laid back set of original folk music.Kelsey Jesperson of Red Rum Triumph. Photo by Richard Amery
“We’re bringing spoons to a gun fight,” Foord observed, noting the number of metal and hard rock bands they were competing against.
“We’re not a metal band.”


 They did rock up their usually laid back set with with an unusual Bob Dylan cover then finished their set with a variety of originals, though they weren’t able to play their ‘zombie’ song due to time constraints, though the crowd was demanding it.

Lightworker playing modern metal.Photo by Richard AmertyOne of the aforementioned metal bands took the stage next as Lightworker played an intense set of detuned metal, which had a good portion of the crowd howling and even shouting along with them. The lead singer showed he could scream, growl and even sing in places. I couldn’t hear much of the lead guitar playing which was buried in the midst of an intense wall of sound. The lead singer jumped into the frothing crowd and rolled back onto the stage howling and bellowing.

Two Tubes came all the way from Regina to play their first gig. Photo by Richard Amery
 Cosmic Charley followed that up with their more melodic, groove filled set.
Two Tubes, a guitar and drums blues/ garage rock duo along the lines of the Black Keys and the Pack A.D. came all the way from Regina to play their first ever gig at band wars. And for a first gig, it was very well done. They added a touch of blues a little garage rock and a lot of energy which only picked up by the end of their 20 minutes.

Lethbridge metal band Caste of Shadows were back on stage for their umpteenth Lethbridge College Band Wars. Their set wasn’t as crazy as it usually is, but they set a menacing tone for their set by dimming the lights  as lead singer Chad Neufeld growled “For the next 20 minutes, you’re mine” and tore into a set of evil metal with elements of classic metal like Megadeth. As always, other than frenetic howling frontman Chad Neufeld, the guitar playing was the highlight of the show. I could hear every ferocious riff.

 Diminished Fifth at the barn. Photo by Richard AmeryDiminished Fifth played one of their first shows at Band Wars.
 Their lead singer strode across the stage, sounding like Joan Jett , singing with spooky power and passion. Caste of Shadows. Photo by Richard Amery

They began with a cover of  “Sweet Dreams” which was more Marilyn Manson than the Eurythmics. Her band was taking it pretty easy considering they were playing upbeat rock. She sang a decent original she wrote about her father, then the band re-energized Bush’s ’90s hit “Glycerine.”

Their last song was a highlight, though she didn’t say what it was.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Friday, 10 February 2012 01:17 )  
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