Four of Vancouver's best go head to head in a night of musical bliss..
At the conclusion of 8 long nights of competition between 32 of Vancouver’s newest bands and artists, the final stage had been set to crown a new champion. Four of Vancouver’s most talented, hard working, and dedicated bands were selected to compete against one another for the title of Best in Vancouver. Sponsored by LiveActs Canada and hosted by The Railway Stage in downtown Vancouver, the Best in Vancouver’s final four were eager to hit the stage. Sleepy Gonzales, Antoinette & The Latest, Major Fantasy, and The Hunter & The Potter filled the night with an amazing variety of new music, giving the fans one of the best musical experiences Vancouver has to offer while giving the judges one hell of a tough time.
Getting the night started with their stunning room filling vocals was the original four-piece band from Surrey, Sleepy Gonzales. Stemming from the roots of musically talented twins Cristian and Beni, and adding Allyson and Nick along the way, Sleepy Gonzales kicked the night off with an eerie Pink Floyd-ish vibe combined with a new age indie rock background. Though the earliest scheduled set that night, Sleepy Gonzales made it mandatory to make it in time for their set making it an already hard ordeal to follow for the next band Antoinette & The Latest.
Antoinette & The Latest
Second up looking to steal the show was Antoinette & The Latest. Following the mind-blowing female vocals of Sleepy Gonzales, Antoinette kept the theme going by leaving all of the night’s attendants jaw-dropped. With the support of The Latest, the second band of the night had the room dancing and singing along to a seemingly endless cycle of catchy tunes and expressive lyrics. With the combination of their stylish wardrobe and their ability to get a crowd going, it was a no brainer on how this vastly talented group of musicians made it this far.
The Hunter & The Potter
Closing out the night were runner ups The Hunter & The Potter. Lead singer and lefty guitarist Max Hunter, along with his band-mates hit the stage ready to rock the night away. The crazy high stage energy of Max immediately related to similar Canadian rock lead men such as Max Kerman (Arkells) and Brett Emmons (The Glorious Sons). Drawing influences from heavy metal, classic rock, punk rock, and even the blues, The Hunter & The Potter gave the rock lovers of the night a special surprise. With the daunting task of waiting all night and watching the bar get raised set after set, Hunter & The Potters had no choice, but to bring down the house with the most energetic set of the night. Unfortunately, Major Fantasy had already won the crowd and judges over.
The 2018 Best in Vancouver champions – Major Fantasy! After a long night of amazing music from all competing groups, the six-man rock band from Richmond came out on top. From the sparkling eye makeup to the gut-wrenching vocals of lead man Mike Gordon and the astonishing band behind him hitting every note with precision and purpose, Major Fantasy stole the show to officially become Vancouver’s best band. Alongside Mike is lead guitarist and brother Kevin, rhythm guitarist Ryan, drummer Mike, bassist Steve, and fan favourite/keyboardist Eric. Major Fantasy came together as six friends in 2016 and found themselves performing all around Vancouver shortly after. From headlining shows at the Roxy Cabaret to playing consecutive years at the Okanagan Pride Festival, the conglomerate sound of 60s, 70s, and 80s rock that this group provides consistently has their fans coming back for more. Rocking out their classics such as “Lil Hammy” to including some of their newer tunes like “Make Me Shakey,” Major Fantasy had the crowd roaring for them between almost every single note - “FANTASY! FANTASY! FANTASY!” - and from that the judges had made their decision.
Congratulations to all bands who participated in this memorable evening of great music, and to LiveActs Canada and The Railway Stage for putting on such an amazing event. Shout out to the judges and all the sponsors for their hard work throughout the competition. Look out for Sleepy Gonzales, Antoinette & The Latest, The Hunter & The Potter, and Major Fantasy tearing up the local Vancouver music scene.
All photography by Isaac Zipursky