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Saturday, December 2, 2023
Bands battle it out for spot at Irish Harp
Admiral has been playing together for about five years and recently decided to take on the bar and pub scene. (Julia Sacco)
Ray Maurice has been playing music and songwriting since his early teens. Monday night he shared his passion with The Irish Harp for Battle of the Bands. (Julia Sacco)

The battle of the bands at The Irish Harp Pub has officially begun.

On Monday night, solo artist Ray Maurice and modern rock band Admiral played for their spot at the final battle and a chance to win $1,000 along with a year-long contract to play at the pub.

Ray Maurice started off the night with moody acoustic vibes, performing covers of fan favourites including “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles, “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls and “Tangerine” by Led Zeppelin — along with a few originals.

In 2018 Maurice was sick in the ICU, upon recovery he was pushed to play music again, releasing a seven-song EP with his former band The Hammersmith — which is available on Spotify.

“When I heard about this I thought ‘why not put my name in the hat?’” he said.

“I’m very lucky to be here, I know this is quite the tight-knit group and they don’t ask just anybody to come out.”

Admiral closed off the night with a well-curated collection of covers from the likes of REM, Gordon Lightfoot, Nirvana and more as well as a few originals.

The group, consisting of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Kevin Lihou, drummer Braydon Waller, bassist Zack McVannel and guitarist Rob Artinianm, has been playing together for about five years and recently decided to take on the bar and pub scene.

“It seemed like a really good opportunity to have a place to call home for a while, if we can win the battle of the bands and be a fixture here that would be really good for us to get comfortable and develop a following,” said Lihou.

The performances were streamed online to The Irish Harp’s Facebook page and winners will be determined by a panel of judges and audience members, as well as online voting which closed at midnight on Friday.

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