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Victoria soloist wins Battle of the Bands in Port Alberni

Zattzoo Project event packed the Rainbow Room for event

A soloist from Victoria has won this year’s youth Battle of the Bands in Port Alberni.

Alex Fraser was named the overall winner and the best vocalist in the Saturday, April 15 event at the Rainbow Room, which was organized by the Zattzoo Project. Antler, from Nanaimo, was named the runner-up.

The event was a sellout, and Zattzoo Project founder Kim Blake hinted that it may need a bigger venue in the future.

Altogether, seven bands competed in front of the judges’ panel, made up of stage professionals Kyle Hamelin, Jason Parson and Keith MacKenzie. University of Victoria Radio Thrashcan host Royal Savoie was the MC for evening.

“After finding Zattzoo online, he contacted the group wanting to be the voice of the event and he pulled off a great job,” said Blake.

Volunteer Todd Flaro received a special award on Saturday night, as he was recognized for all his contributions to Alberni Teens Can Rock, the Zattzoo Project and Five Acre. Co Events.

“Todd is such an invested, dedicated support for everyone,” said Blake.

The Zattzoo Project’s Battle of the Bands, which was formed in memory of the late Port Alberni musician Zakk Coss, is open to musicians from Vancouver Island aged 25 and younger. With the win, Fraser earned a top prize of $1,000 and an opportunity to perform at a Five Acre Co. festival in Port Alberni this summer. Fraser says it will be his first mainstage performance ever.

“It was a really cool experience,” said Fraser, during an interview after the battle. “The amount of talent in that room was amazing. I loved the whole vibe of the event. I was definitely surprised to win.”

Fraser, who is based out of Langford, entered the contest after hearing about it on Facebook. He has had a love for music from a young age, starting with percussion and drums throughout middle school and high school. He started writing music in 2017, teaching himself to play piano and sing. He classifies his musical style as pop and is inspired by other artists such as Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Canadian singer-songwriter Luca Fogale.

“I taught myself some basic chords and sounded it out from there,” he explained. “I’m really trying to find my own sound.”

Currently, Fraser performs regularly at the Irish Times Pub in downtown Victoria and spends his free time writing and creating music. He has a single coming out next month, titled “Party Ain’t Over,” which features his friend and fellow musician Brett Smith-Daniels.

“I try to stay as humble as I can about the music,” said Fraser, who has a day job working in the trades as a sprinkler fitter. “It’s just a joy and a release to play on stage. These kinds of opportunities are huge for me, so I’m really grateful for them. I’m just taking it day by day.”

Full list of awards:

Best Guitar: Sydney McGillawee of Sturdy Lemon

Best Bass: Michael Lozier of Antler

Drums: Noel Dufour (who played in both Antler and Amateur Hour)

Voice: Alex Fraser

Wow Moment: Phoenix Gates (who showed diversity, playing solo and also with Amateur Hour)

Fan Favourite: Antler

Runner-Up: Antler

First Place: Alex Fraser

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Elena Rardon

About the Author: Elena Rardon

I have worked with the Alberni Valley News since 2016.
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