Their instruments are tuned, guitar picks poised and voices are ready to roar as three bands will duke it out to find out who will be crowned the Rock The Peach battle of the bands champion on Friday.
“People are really excited about the music, and I think with our three finalists, our judges are going to have a tough job,” said Rock The Peach music festival organizer Vanessa Jahnke.
The Malibu Knights, The Flu and The Daybeats will compete in the finals slated to begin at 8 p.m. at the Barking Parrot. Bands will each perform a 30-minute set and have an encore if they are chosen as the winner. The grand prize is a time slot on the opening day of the Rock The Peach music festival, July 27 to 29 in Penticton. Already scheduled on stage are The Steadies, Treble Charger and Collective Soul.
“Collective Soul was definitely one of my favourite bands growing up, and I think everyone in our band would agree with me,” said The Flu lead singer Felix Roberts, winners of round two. “It would be extremely important for us to play next to Collective Soul and Treble Charger. Treble Charger especially because I would really like Greig Nori (vocalist) to be near us because he is an important name and would be a really good guy to meet.”
The Flu is an alternative rock band from Kelowna who recently had the opportunity to open for Paul Rodgers, Grammy award winner, founding member, singer and songwriter of Bad Company, Free and The Firm (with Jimmy Page).
Penticton/Summerland-based band The Daybeats won round three, bringing with them a posse of fans in white T-shirts who got the crowd on its feet dancing. The five-piece original band plays a mixture of funk and alternative-rock and has opened for the Tragically Hip, Lee Aaron and Tupelo Honey.
“We are a Penticton band and have been here for a number of years. When Rock The Peach comes to town we feel like that is our gig, we made it our priority and put a lot of work in. Our entire goal right now is to have a fun dance party on Friday and to pack the Parrot,” said Dan Bouchard, vocalist and guitarist for The Daybeats.
While there was a rumour on Twitter that Bouchard would be sporting a bunny suit on Friday, he wouldn’t confirm it. He did say however, they have a bunch of new songs that they plan on playing.
The Daybeats aren’t the only band with a local support base. The Malibu Knights drummer Rod Anderson grew up in Okanagan Falls and expects a good turnout.
“We are pretty excited. We probably will unleash a couple of our new songs to see how they go and just play our hearts out like we normally do,” said Anderson, whose band won round one. “We usually are just full of energy when we play and plus we are up against The Daybeats, and I know Dan (Bouchard) from that band so it should be fun to go against those guys.”
Malibu Knights is described as a mixed-genre band with an alternative rock/classic rock sound. They have opened for Bon Jovi, Kid Rock, Bif Naked and other bands across the country, but getting to play in their own backyard would be icing on the cake for the drummer.
“It would mean a lot, to be able to open for the festival. I grew up in Okanagan Falls and to be able to play in my hometown area and opening for such bands as Collective Soul and Treble Charger would mean very much to us. We haven’t played that many big shows in the Okanagan really so it would be great to do that in our home area,” said Anderson.
The battle of the bands event has also been acting as a fundraiser for Giving Others A Boost. The by-donation cover charge at the Barking Parrot to get into the battle of the bands competition has all gone to Giving Others A Boost, so far they have raised $800.
“It’s a win-win situation for everyone. The Parrot gets filled up on a weird night like a Thursday when maybe it wouldn’t regularly be filled up. Rock The Peach festival gets much-needed exposure and Giving Others A Boost can fundraise. Some of these bands are still growing and so it’s also good for them because they get some exposure. Everyone walks out of this happy,” said David MacCoubrey, Giving Others A Boost co-founder.
MacCoubrey, who came up with the battle of the bands idea, also sits on the panel of judges for the event and is looking forward to see what the bands bring on Friday’s finale.
“There is a lot of criteria that has to come out. One of the things we are going to go off of a bit is the crowd response. It is a very close race and I know all three bands have quite a following. It is going to be hard because these are all very professional-calibre bands,” said MacCoubrey. “If it was up to me, I would choose all three and have one open each of the nights.”