Review: Battala Rockstars Finals – 2009

So last Wednesday I headed to The Reverb for the Battala Rockstars finals.

For those unfamiliar with the Battala setup: bands face off against each other over the course of a few weeks in front of a panel of esteemed judges: former I Mother Earth singer Edwin, music journalist Karen Bliss, producer Gavin Brown and Goldfinger drummer Darren Pfeiffer. The last band standing gets $25,000, recording time, and a national tour. Not too shabby.

This go-around, it came down to Purrr, The Black Rainbows, Corporate Saturday and Save This City. The lineup for the finals was:

Purr vs. The Black Rainbows

Corporate Saturday vs. Save This City

First up was Purrr. Of the final four, Purr is the band with the most unique sound. While the other three bands leaned more towards the punky/pop genre, Purr have elements of trance and a decidedly more ‘Euro’ vibe. Oh, and a hot female drummer, Karli Forget. She sang vocals on one song and it was reminiscent of the Ting Tings. She should sing more. My issue with Purrr was that I felt I was listening to a mouthy Woodbridge garage band rehearsing to play the prom at the local 4 Points Sheraton and they never get asked back because their songs simply contain too many swears. And the singer kinda reminded me of a Top 10 finalist on So You Think You Can Dance. Not one specifically. All of them. The male ones, that is.

Purrr’s competition was The Black Rainbows. Of the four bands, my imaginary vote went immediately to these boys. With two stages, each band took turns, ultimately playing four songs each. While three of the Purrr songs had me wandering to the bar due to boredom and annoyance, The Black Rainbows had my attention glued to the stage. They were The Clash meets The Beach Boys. Their lyrics bordered on silly at times, but their songs were catchier than syphilis in a college dorm. The group’s energy, particularly the stage presence of singer Mike Anichini and guitarist Christian Patrick, made it work. TBR were clearly a fan favourite before they even finished their first song.

After Round 1, we all assumed the judges would declare the first winning band of the night, but no go. We had to wait. Next up was Corporate Saturday vs. Save This City.

First up was Corporate Saturday who were, in my humble opinion, the weakest of the four bands. Kinda generic, Metro-Station-y, and they clearly spend a lot of precious rehearsal time planning their on-stage outfits. That said, their 4th song, a ballad, reminded me a bit of that song ‘The Reason’ by Hoobastank (c’mon – admit it – you like that song too). Lead singer Austen Renaud has the voice and the look but lacks a bit of the charisma one associates with a lead singer. That said, I have no doubt that this band will be extremely popular. They definitely have teen-girl appeal and a catchy – if common – sound.

Next on stage were Save This City. The first thing one notices about this band is their lack of pants; instead, there were matching red shorts. Me likey. It’s obvious that the collective members of this band were/are big fans of Limp Bizkit and I definitely picked up on major influences from Blink-182 and New Found Glory. So I kinda laughed my ass off when I checked out their MySpace page and found that their bio lists their influences as Blink and NFG. I also immediately pegged them as being from Newmarket. And again, bingo. The singer took off his shirt at one point, which was very appreciated by the ladies in the crowd. It was clear that STC had quite a few fans and supporters at The Reverb that night. Despite the slight douchey vibe I got off them at first, they were actually quite good and I pegged them to go up against Black Rainbows in the end.

I wasn’t surprised when Black Rainbows made it through, but I almost dropped my beer(s) when Corporate Saturday beat out Save This City for a shot at the prize.

It was time for the final two to go head-to-head. Again, The Black Rainbows tore it up and the crowd was obviously behind them. So, about half an hour later when the judges announced that the winners were Corporate Saturday, we were all super shocked.

Dear judges:


Black Rainbows: you was robbed.

Well, that’s all for me. I’m watching Vanilla Sky and Tom Cruise’s face in this movie is managing to out-creep even his every day personality. So that’s all folks. Wanna know more? Check their MySpace pages and judge for yourself. You disagree with my analysis? I’d love to hear from you. Email me at




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