Battle of the Bands competition coming to Hard Rock Cafe

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Promotional poster for Battle of the Bands. (Lindsay Sganga/Ryersonian Staff)

By Sidney O’Rielly

Mark your calendars, because Ryerson’s annual Battle of the Bands competition is returning to the Hard Rock Cafe March 10.

Six bands were selected from 19 hopefuls to compete for the grand prize: an industry showcase with Canada’s Music Incubator, founded by entertainment agency Coalition Music. Musicians will also compete for individual prizes, including best vocalist, best instrumentalist and best performer.

The six bands are Mayraki, Cheap Flights, Northern Riot, Astral Nomad, Love Wagon, and Alma Cassels. Each ensemble includes at least one Ryerson student. Musical styles range from funk to punk to R&B to classic rock.

“You can imagine how hard it was to choose the final six. It will be even tougher to choose one winner,” said Liam Grier, co-organizer of the event and vice-president of Musicians@Ryerson. “There’s very stiff competition this year.”

Mohammed Yassin, a vocalist for competing hip-hop fusion band Mayraki and sociology student at Ryerson, agrees. “There’s a lot of musical talent on campus. I don’t think people realize how strong the campus talent is for a school without a music program.”

This year, judges are set to include Ryerson music history professor Gillian Turnbull and Adam Helfand-Green, the frontman of last year’s winning band, The Exide. Other judges have yet to be announced.

“It’s an event organized by students, for students, showcasing student talent, run by student volunteers,” Grier said. Last year, there was an audience of 200 people at the rock ‘n’ roll-themed restaurant chain.

“We often dub ourselves ‘Ryerson’s unofficial music faculty,’” Grier said. “Events like Battle of the Bands, much like music in general, help bring people together. It’s always great to see people from all programs, from RTA, to journalism, to business, come out.”

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