Having their jug full of money stolen on their first weekend in 2006 didn’t stop them from making the Great Lakes Surf Battle an annual event with quarterly shows. A year later in 2007, Pete Jones and Dano Villano were trading the Robots for the Reverb Syndicate (with NHL goalie Martin Gerber and a bucket of pucks to sweeten the deal!) and doing multiple shows in the summer, often at various venues. It’s a huge deal for them in 2022. With a global pandemic and many false starts at reopening venues, they’ve had to bide their time. It’s also a pure coincidence that June is International Surf Music Month. They had no idea about that when they chose to make the affectionately titled “Big June Battle” in that very month, yet it’s now a tradition for Toronto and lovers of reverb drenched instrumental tunes.
Aside from the summer season, the GSLB crew have brought the “Fall Surf Classic ” that lifts spirits during the lull between Halloween and the Holiday Season. The arrival of Spring is signaled via “The Winternationals.” There have also been events such as “Big Wednesday” and the “Westside Washout.” Various one off shows have taken place, but the summer surf party is the main event that will continue on for the foreseeable future.
All one needs to do is check out the Great Lakes Surf Battle Facebook page to see a veritable who’s who of bands that have sometimes crossed borders to get their place in history. The infamous “Lake Michigan Curse” has foiled some past attempts at getting in on the live action. On the plus side, there’s usually a substitute found and occasionally, the one non-surf band that offers garage rock, punk, or rockabilly. That being said, the annual event is a go for 2022! Let’s check out the roster for this year.
Thursday June 30-See-Scape (347 Keele St.)
9pm- George Westerholm and his Wild Wildcats
10pm- Luau or Die
11pm- Nuclear Juarez
w/ MC Wolfman and DJ Swankenstein
Saturday July 2nd- The Garrison (1197 Dundas St. W.)
8:30 pm-Chairmen of the Boards
9:30 pm-Nuclear Juarez
10:30 pm- Blue Demons
12:30am-Mark Malibu & the Wasagas
MC Wolfman DJ Swankenstein
Sunday July 3rd, Queen West Street Stages (486 Queen St W at Denison Ave)
2:00pm-The Swinging Pussycats
3:00pm The Mayfairs
4:00pm-Champions of Justice
5:00pm-The Leather Uppers
From all of us, have a happy surf music summer and welcome back, Great Lakes Surf Battle.
Check out the event here at Great Lakes Surf Battle 17.