Virgina Leaves want to leave their mark
The second annual Band Fight begins next week and one Tsawwassen resident is hoping his group will have the knockout power to put the other 11 bands away and win the top prize.
Lead singer Mike West and his band Virginia Leaves are competing in the competition in Vancouver, running Wednesdays, Nov. 7-21 in Vancouver at Library Square, until a winner is declared Nov. 28.
The scrappiest band will win a radio promotion on 99.3 The Fox and their song professionally produced by Amp Records.
"I think it's a phenomenal idea," says West, who will get to play a 30-minute set with his band on Nov. 14. "There's so much good music being made in Vancouver right now and there's a lot of people who are behind the music scene and they really want to see it flourish."
Virginia Leaves have spent the past several months working on their new album, Portrait. It was three songs selected from that album that earned them a juried entry into the competition.
West, who has lived in Tsawwassen for the past three years, began the band in 2008 while writing acoustic songs with his friend Strides Brown. After renting a rehearsal space in Vancouver, they bumped into old friend Brian Michals, who came on board to play drums. He brought along bass guitarist Glenn Kelly, from North Delta.
West says the band has a broad spectrum of influences from old school country to punk rock.
"There's so many sub genres out there. I wouldn't want to necessarily peg it down to anything," says West, adding the band draws inspiration from musical artists that try to break the mould with new ideas.
"Personally, I think it is shameful to say things like I like all music, except country. Or rap, or classical. To me, that's nonsense."
There's some good music in every genre out there, the key is taking parts of each influence and creating something new, says West.
The group came up with the name Virginia Leaves after seeing a concert in Vancouver in 2008. West says he likes that the name is ambiguous and means what the person wants it to mean.
"It can be a heartbreak name if you think of Virginia as a girl's name, she leaves and sort of breaks your heart. Or Virginia Leaves as in the state of Virginia and the auburn maple trees."
Their logo, which features a horse munching on a feedbag of hooch, is based on a lyric from one of the bands' early songs, "horses of whiskey."
Virginia Leaves will get a chance to test their mettle against other bands from Vancouver, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Victoria, on Nov. 14.
The winner of each night moves on to the Nov. 28 finale, while one "wild-card" band chosen by judges will join the other three.
The competition is set up like a real boxing fight, including rounds, announcer, and ring girls.
Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door, Nov. 7, 14, 21, and 28, at Library Square Public House in Vancouver. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and show starts at 8.
For more info, visit amprecordsco.com.