Local Music

Extreme combat: Young bands battle for festival slots

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Area 702 Skatepark, mid-Battle.
Photo: Bill Hughes
Leslie Ventura

If the Battle of the Fans competition is an accurate depiction of the younger local music scene, hardcore bands have a monopoly on the movement. Every weekend this February, local bands compete at Area 702 Skate Park for one of seven spots in next month’s Extreme Thing sports and music festival (March 26, Desert Breeze Skate Park). Voting is split: live at the shows and online afterward, with results tallied in March.

Christian metalcore band The Forerunner kicked off last Saturday’s installment with fire and brimstone as lead singer John Gagnon filled the room with brooding guttural vocals. Backed by a tight group of musicians, Gagnon struck a chord with the crowd—and delivered a metal sermon. “If you don’t believe in Jesus Christ ... come chat with us about our beliefs at our merch table,” Gagnon yelled over cheering fans. The Forerunner was among eight bands on the bill, including diamond in the rough Tuesday After School. Though the ska band says it has a big following at Silverado High (all seven members’ alma mater), Tuesday After School didn’t sound confident about its odds. “I don’t feel like we’ve got a very good chance,” bassist Austin Tegtmeier said. “The scene is hardcore. We’re in it for fun.”

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