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The Euphonic Sound crew headed out to the Grand Prix Kartways, in Downsview park in Toronto this past Saturday to judge the first night of Guitar Wars.

The bands competing were Shaun Sutter, Toke 2, 85 East and Our Lady of Bloodshed.
We want to help these independent artists grow and expand, so we’ve decided to give some criticism which we hope the artists will take with them throughout their careers.

Shaun Sutter

Shaun Sutter


Shaun Sutter was first up. He had a sound that was easy to like. Melodic pop leaning toward the adult contemporary side of things. Shaun’s strong point is definitely his voice. Through out his set every song suited his voice perfectly, and his vocal execution was great. The biggest weakness of the set was the drummer that sat in. I think this was the first time this drummer played with Shaun – I don’t think they rehearsed previous to this show either. I think its a big mistake to have an unrehearsed musician sit in with you during a music competition – for this, and even though Shaun himself was quiet good, the act lost marks for musicianship (the drummer was all over the place clearly not knowing the form of the songs Shaun performed). Next time just play solo Shaun!

Toke 2 was a really cool band. These guys don’t sound like the typical bar band at all. I think they have a long way to go in developing their sound – but they are headed in the right direction. Notable mention to this bands guitarist – he had it all, great tone, great playing, and a unique unpredictable approach to each song. The weakness of the set to me was lead vocals. The singer actually is really good! The kind of singer I like – a little crazy, unpredictable, and creative in his vocal styling. However, there were a few missed notes and voice cracks that I think is a result of over singing. In any case this singer needs to learn better control of his voice – the best piece of advice would be for him to relax – No singer can pull off this type of ambitious vocalizing while straining the vocal chords. Learn how to hit those high notes without pushing – relax man!

85 East was my favorite act of the night simply because they form a complete picture of who they are. They have their sound, and their act, entirely together. These guys are a hard hitting heavy band with a rapper as front man. A little bit of Rage Against the Machine Influence but leaning more to the heavy side as opposed to the funky side. The confidence in delivery and the well rehearsed execution made these guys really stand out. I predict big things for this band!

85 East

Our Lady of Bloodshed was easily the most unpopular band of the evening. When they hit the stage with their abrasive death metal they virtually cleared the room. I am a fan of this genre and I thought these guys were great! The guitarists played quite a few awesome technical death metal riffs. The singer has it together as well – his death metal screams, vocal stylings and stage presence are bang on for the genre..maybe a little too bang on (he could use a little more originality to sound less like all of the other great death metal vocalists out there). But the biggest problem with this band is simply the fact that they do not fit at Guitar Wars…not the right gig for these guys. Stick to the metal shows and festivals and you guys will do great! Avoid shows where the audience members are not die hard metal heads.


Shawn either punching a racer or driving a car.


Shaun Sutter is great with an acoustic guitar, and had interesting harmonies throughout each song (which was impressive since he was the only one singing). I was impressed at his timing and pitch.

  • Stick to a solo act, as James mentioned.
  • Move around a little more on stage.
  • Play as many open mics as you can – you seem perfect for that kind of environment as opposed to a band competition.

Toke 2 gave a great performance and the light show absolutely complemented the feel of their music. They had a Pink Floyd meets Avenged Sevenfold’s “City of Evil” album. Melodic, intricate… very cool.

  • Don’t open your set with the songs you used at Guitar Wars. They give off a false first impression. Open with one of your more epic songs to show who you really are.
  • Minor pitch problems with the vocalist, but nothing some training can’t improve.
  • More trippy guitar textures!

Toke 2 hitting the stage at Guitar Wars 2010

85 East has an amazing post-hardcore hiphop vibe that should be heard by fans of metal and hip hop alike. Keep an eye out for these guys in the very near future.

  • Great mash-up of genres.
  • Fantastic stage presence.
  • Bass was very quiet at the show – more bass guitar next show.

Our Lady Of Bloodshed had amazing technical ability with their instruments, along with a cool style of hardcore metal. The one thing that would make your songs more interesting is more blast-beats. Songs were structured nicely.

  • Awesome stage presence – not many fans there, but they rocked out the hardest.
  • Great instrumentation from all members of the band.
  • I agree with James – stick to the shows that suit your genre and you’ll grow exponentially.

This was only round one! Here are the other dates for the Guitar Wars qualifying rounds:
Sat, April 10
Fri, April 16
Fri, April 23
Sat, April 24
Fri, May 14
Fri, May 28
Fri, June 04
Sat, June 05

Come on out and see some awesome indie bands batteling it out…and don’t forget to say hi. The Euphonic Sound crew will be judging every show! …and posting reviews here on Studio Manifesto.

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