Dear Havanah wins 2011 RJL Battle of the Bands

, Staff

Dear Havanah edged out a very talented field of competing bands to win the 2011 RJL Memorial Battle of the Bands at Showcase Live in Foxboro on Sunday. By winning the battle, which celebrates the life of Ryan J. Lariviere, the band was awarded over $10,000 in prizes including financial support from Ryan J. Lariviere Memorial Fund and services from Nimbit, Powerderfinger Promotions and other local companies.

Lowell-based hard rockers Thurkills Vision and New York-based rock/hip-hop outfit Belikos made it to the final round after an impressive first round that featured entertaining sets from Deadfish, Delta Generators, Sex Coffee, One Step Away and Mindwalk Blvd. Each of the bands performed a 20-minute set during the opening round, followed by the three finalist performing one encore song each during the final round.

Opening Sunday’s show was Cape Cod’s Lunar Valve featuring American Idol alumn Siobhan Magnus (a native of Barnstable who finished sixth on Season Nine). The band delivered a crowd-pleasing set of originals (including material off a forthcoming album) and few covers. Magnus also served as one of the Battle’s celebrity judges, alongside former New England Patriot Doug Flutie, producer Anthony J. Resta, percussionist Martin Vazquez, and Boston Music Spotlight’s Rory Flynn. Suzanne Tonaire served as the event’s emcee.

The Ryan J. Lariviere Memorial Fund was established by Rick and Marie Lariviere in 2003 following the loss of their only child Ryan, an avid 21-year-old musician. The theme for this year’s RJL Memorial Battle of the Bands was “Pay It Forward” with each of the competing bands being invited to participate after a process of nominations from previous winners, sponsors, family and friends. Prior winners of the RJL battle include Prospect Hill, Rob Benton Band, 3rd Left and Black Betty & the Bad Habits.

Dear Havanah will celebrate the victory with a show at the House of Blue’s Foundation Room in Boston on Friday. The band will continue with an East Coast tour in support of their new album, The Whole Way Home, which was produced by Alan Evans of Soulive.

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