Best of the Battle 

Top local talent emerges from LUNA’s fourth annual Battle of the Bands


Guitars, drums and microphones: while they aren't your average weapons, local musicians wielded them, instead of guns or knives, during the fourth annual Battle of the Bands last Friday.

Solo artists and bands from Squamish, Pemberton and Whistler took turns on stage at Maxx Fish Lounge, vying for the top spot in the annual talent competition, which is organized by Late and Unique Nighttime Alternatives (LUNA) as a way to help aspiring local musicians to gain performance experience and further their careers.

A brand-new band in town, The Tell Tales, won in the band category, while Dani Quayle captured the title of best solo artist in the Sea to Sky. They walked away with recording gigs at Saga Recording Studio and Waking Alone Productions, an opening spot as headliner with CIA Concerts, airplay and a radio interview on Mountain FM, a limited edition screen printed competition poster from Sage Illustration, a professional two-hour photo shoot with Darren Roberts Studio and a vocal training session with Hilary Wight.

Runner up in the band category was The Rising Tide, while Alice Newton was selected as runner up solo artist. Each will receive airplay and a radio interview on Mountain FM, plus a paid gig at Merlin's from Club Shred.

Whistler's winning rock band, The Tell Tales, features Ryan Doucette on drums, Rajan Das on bass and Mike McDonald on vocals and guitar. The group came together just three short months ago, but in that time, they've managed to create 18 original songs.

"The great thing about Ryan and Raj is they're so talented. I was booking gigs before they ever really knew the songs very well!" McDonald said. "...It's been really easy with these guys."

Two of their members are quite familiar with the Battle of the Band experience - Das and McDonald actually won the competition last year, McDonald as a solo artist, and Das as part of the Jon Shrier Band.

But with an incredibly talented lineup of competitors this year, McDonald and the rest of The Tell Tales weren't sure who was going to emerge victorious.

McDonald attributes their success to their laidback attitude and approach to music.

"We just go out and play the songs the best that we can and we're having fun up there, I think that was probably one of the biggest advantages for us," McDonald said. "...Because if you're not having fun and dancing, then you can't really expect anyone else to be."

All the members were eager to enter the competition in hopes of scoring the valuable studio time that goes with the top prize.

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