Sara and Tegan win the garage war
by Erin Munro
May 8th 1998
The battle of the bands was decided Saturday night in the smoky dark Max Cafe and Bar at the University of Calgary.
Six local acts vied for studio time and the Garage Warz title...but only one band won the war.
"Sara and Tegan!" yelled the announcer over the screams of the duo's fans.
The 17-year-old twins, who are too young to even be in the bar, were just happy they got the chance to play.
"It wasn't really on our minds to win," said Sara Quin. "Just to play and have people other than our friends and relatives hear us."
Sara and Tegan were escorted out of the Wyckham House shortly after their performance March 21 because the bar was open. Even without the beer, they won and went on to compete in the finals at the U of C.
Sara and Tegan, along with five other local acts, entertained a crowd of about 250 people.
The evening started out with a solo performance by Jaw. His sweet guitar riffs and soulful vocals reached every empty corner in the basement lounge. With the addition of his mouth harp in a few songs, his style seemed reminiscent of Johnny Cash. He didn't seem to be able to capture the attention of the crowd, who chose to chatter and ignore his plaintive tunes. At the end of his set he was met with a few catcalls and only a smattering of applause. He quickly exited the stage, a strong but soon-forgotten performance.
After a brief pause, Mayfly took to the stage. Fronted by the tall gangly Derrick Mitchell, the band immediately caught the attention of the growing crowd. It was soon obvious that Mayfly was a favorite, as nearly 300 people rocked along with undivided attention.
"I am the king of conspiracy," Mitchell sang with a grin, jumping all over the stage to a beat of his own. At the end of the set, he made a pitch for anyone in the audience to buy the band's tape.
Next up were Sara and Tegan.
The twins' quiet presence didn't hide their musical talents. Backed up only by their matching, uniquely decorated guitars, the 17-year-olds held many in awe. Their silky, yet throaty, voices, seemed much older and wiser than their sweet faces led to believe.
They too had a strong cheering section, who shrieked and yelled at the end of every song.
The next band up was the original Fistfulloftoes. They started their half-hour set with a Spanish beat. Not quite what the mainstream University crowd expected, the crowd didn't take a lot of notice until the band broke into a more rock-oriented, almost grunge sound. Next, they did a tribute to jazz, which was smooth and blended, except for the rough vocals of Glen Peacy. An almost Jamaican tune drew an "all right, mon!" from a crowd member, but it too didn't quite click. The song did inspire two brave, if not drunk, souls to take to the dance floor.
Up next was a Beatles flashback, Bobby McAllister and the Telstars. Impeccably dressed in suits and ties, they grabbed the attention of the thinning crowd with their nineties guitar riffs matched with their clean-cut vocals. Their catchy tunes caught a few audience members tapping their feet, some even dancing a little in their seats. However, they didn't seem to earn the same adulation as some of the previous acts.
Last up was Ray-o-vac, another guitar-based band, smooth and practiced, but without the strong vocals of Mayfly or Sara and Tegan. Many were shifting restlessly in their seats halfway through the set when the percussionist had to attach a new snare drum. After another long, well-practiced song, they exited the stage.
As the audience began leaving and last call was announced, the girls broke away from the many well wishers to share the moment.
On a night when they sang, "All I have to give the world is me," it seemed that it was more than enough to top five other older bands with their sheer musical talent