On January 28th, we competed in the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) Battle of the Bands contest at the Tattoo Rock Parlour on Queen Street West. Five bands had entered representing ad agencies DDB, Mediacom, Squareknot, Media Experts, and MDC Partners. We represented DDB, with Rico, Noella and Andrea joining us for our performance.
Gillian Graham, the CEO of ICA, was our MC for the event.
We performed second. What we did not expect, was the judges to pipe up after each performance and offer a review and critique. At first I was a bit apprehensive, but then realized getting a critique from objective professionals could be very valuable. There were three judges, the head judge being from Coalition Music: Jesse Mitchell, manager of Artist Development & Education. Wow, free feedback from music industry pros!
When we came on stage, Tony took to the mic and introduced us and our brand of kick ass rock and roll. We led off with Born to be Wild, with high energy playing and singing, and got the crowd to sing the chorus. We crashed out with me jumping and waving my hands to close out the song. LOUD APPLAUSE. Then Jamie filled in with some banter as I got my guitar. Tony then introduced our original song, Good To Go, tying it in with the GO Transit account. We played it tight, driving to a rock ‘n’ roll beat, and closed off on a thunderous B major chord. ENTHUSIASTIC APPLAUSE. Our final song was a soulful rendition of Mustang Sally—again getting the whole crowd in on it. CONGRATULATORY APPLAUSE.
Now it was the judges turn to give feedback to us. Jesse Mitchell spoke about our classic rock style and that we had a good sound, but he said that of three numbers we played, Good To Go stood out as the best. A good original that has potential and that he would be willing to work on with us. He said we should come up and get his card. Needless to say, we were thrilled at this, viewed it as a victory of sorts. In other words, even if we did not win the top prize, we had already won.
Then the moment came when the judges came to the stage to announce the winner. Jesse Mitchell took the mic. “Before I announce the winner, I would like to give honourable mention to the DDB group (aka. The Cookies), who are not the winners tonight. However, I am also offering them the same prize as the first prize, four hours of free recording time at Coalition Music. Your original song was the best I heard all night and is something that we can work with, so get in touch with me so that we can set a day and time for you to come into the studio and record.” The long and the short of it is, we got the same prize as the winners (the group representing Mediacom). ~Off to Coalition Music studios we go!