Local band striving for big national gig

MARTINS FERRY – Contentions, a local band from Martins Ferry, has entered the Battle of the Bands for the 2014 Vans Warped Tour.

Warped Tour is a national tour conducted every year by Vans skating company, and it features approximately 50 national acts, most of which are in the genres of punk, rock and heavy metal. The tour began in 1995 and has been growing every year since.

In recent years, Warped Tour has held several internet-based battles of the bands, the winners of which are typically upcoming bands who are permitted to play at specific shows on the tour in their respective regions, in addition to gaining possible endorsements, equipment and, of course, exposure of their music.

Contentions is doing rather well in the contest thus far. At the time of this article, the band is ranked fifth in the rock category, fourth in the metal category and first in the electronic category. The contest is judged by overall rank based on venue, not individual genre, however. Overall, the band is ranked fifth out of hundreds of bands from all over the world, including Dubai and Ireland, and currently fluctuating between first and second at their venue.

The competition will conclude for Contentions approximately three weeks before the Warped Tour comes to First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown, PA, on July 15, which is the show they are aiming to play.

The top four bands overall each get to play their respective venues on the 2014 tour, in addition to a one-week slot on next year’s Warped Tour and a prize package.

The grand-prize-winning band will earn a $15,000 Guitar Center shopping spree, a professionally recorded 3-song EP and a slew of other prizes including equipment and endorsements.

“I’m kind of surprised,” said Brody McKeegan, who is one of the band’s two guitarists. “We didn’t expect it at all. We set up our account for (the Battle of the Bands) and all of a sudden (our ranking) went up really high. We’ve been looking at the other bands who are around the same spot as us for the competition. A lot of them are a lot more developed; they have a much larger fanbase. And I think it’s kind of cool to see that we’re competing with those bands. It’s really exciting.”

Steven Kline, also a guitarist, explained that Contentions has only been together for a little more than a year, but the band still feels confident about its chances to play the show on July 15.

“There are only two bands that are even (geographically) remotely close to us that are on the front page (of the rankings),” he said, stating that one of those bands is from Pittsburgh. “A lot of them are from much bigger cities. You have to come in the top three to play the venue. So as long as we stay in the top three of our venue, we should most likely get it.”

For the band, getting to play the show would be a dream come true.

“I’ve been attending Warped Tour since I was 14 years old,” said Giuseppe Vilano, one of the band’s two vocalists. “I haven’t missed one since then. I always thought it would be so awesome to play Warped Tour one day, and it’s just crazy that we’re where we are now.”

Contentions has upcoming shows on April 5 at Redman’s Bingo Hall in Martins Ferry, April 26 in Sardis, May 3 in Canton, Ohio, and May 9 in Morgantown, W.Va.

The band has two EPs and a single out, which amounts to about 11 total songs. The newest EP was released on Feb. 25, entitled ‘Lost Lights’, which is available on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play and other online stores.

The band can be reached via their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/contentions-oh.

To vote for Contentions in the 2014 Vans Warped Tour Battle of the Bands, please visit warped.battleofthebands.com/u/Contentions.

Scott can be reached at jscott@timesleaderonline.com.