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The best kept secret in music


"Excerpt from the article Behold 'The Shwa'"

If rocking out over five pins is not really your thing, a steady rotation of local bands, hungry for the limited spots in the only decent all-ages venue, are playing at The Dungeon.

The aptly named, black-walled, red lit, basement club on Bond St. E. offers a thriving music scene composed almost entirely of musicians still untouched by the momentum-dulling effect of mass acclaim.

"The Dungeon is a real opportunity for indie bands to be exposed, a chance to get up there and do their thing," says Travis Sanders, 22, lead singer of the band RPO, recent winners of a popular all-ages battle of the bands contest. - Toronto Star: July 27, 2004

"Bandwarz gears down"

By Rob Tolson: Chronicle staff

Local hands and fierce competition equals another night of Bandwarz. This week's competition taking place March 1, started a little later than usual, however the night was still jam-packed with live music.

Ever Since Eve began their set at around 8:10. as the opening band od this edition of Bandwarz. Ever Since Eve was yet another of the ever so popular punk-pop phenomenon (or exaggerated trend) that is ever so rampant on the Durham music scene.

The band wasn't bad, but the sound has been repro-cucedto no end. Ever Since Eve even stole the synchronized dance moves from Ajax punk-pop rockstars Sum 41, and thats not all they stole from Sum 41.

The three-piece played to a fair-sired crowd considering they were the opening act, then again it could have something to do with the late starting time. The guitarist tried to taik to the crowd between songs, even throwing out free demo CDs, but the audience didn't seem fazed. People clapped after each song, but they seemed unenthusiastic while the band played. The guitarist also had a cordless guitar, but neglected to take advantage of his freedom to enter the crowd or play from somewhere other than the stage space he was given. You can buy Ever Since Eve's demo for $5 through their Web site at www.eversinceeve.net.

The next band, Throwin Fitz, brought with them an aiternative rock style.

The singer sported a John Lennon shirt, but didn't quite sound like Lennon. Most of the time he was off key and the rest of the time the backup vocals were out of tune.

By the applause the band was receiving, most of the audience must have been family and friends. Looking around the crowd, the majority age was over 35. There was even a five-year-oid sitting on his father's shoulders.

At one point a few seniors, 60 (no joke) Walked through the front doors to see this band. I know Bandwarz is all ages but this is taking it a little far.

Throwin Fitz did have some instrumental talent, although most of their songs were composed this way: verse, chorus, verse, elaborate solo. The highlight of their set was when the singer played a few notes of a solo with his teeth. Well he held the guitar up to his face anyway.

Newcastle's One Second 2 Late played, you guessed it punk-pop. The singer's prepubescent vocals went well with the band's Simple Plan meets New Found Glory sound. Oh wait, isn't that the same sound?

Aside from only one person clapping after the band's first song, the audience seemed not to hate One Second 2 Late.

To go along with the punk pop adolescent mentality, the band taped the words "Penis + Nuts = Love" in big fluorescent letters on one of their amps.

During One Second 2 Late's set, the next band, RPO had the audasity to hand out free demo CDs and swag to the audience.

RPO was one of the better bands from this year's Bandwarz. This Oshawa based five-piece had great energy and emotion on stage. The singer would often jump around, letting his tattered dreads swing through the air with passion. The heavy music went hand in hand with the angry Iyrics. RPO's sound could be described as a mix of P.O.D and Slipknot.

Everyone in the crowd was feeling the music produced by RPO, often moving to the music and pushing to get just that little bit closer to the band on stage.

The singer also felt the connection to the crowd and entered it to sing a few lines.

In between songs band members would throw out demo CDs and stickers to the crowd. By the end of the night E.P. Taylor's was littered with RPO stickers.

The only down point of their set was during the first song when the bassist broke a string and they had to borrow and retune a bass from one of the other bands.

The crowd was so into RPO that when it came time to end the set, they chanted for one more song, but RPO was informed that they didn't have anymore time.

RPO even seemed to have thelr own fan club with people patches patches and stickers on their clothing.

Vaughn Lal, the bass player for RPO, believes that he is cursed when it comes to playing at Bandwarz.

"I was gonna re-string the bass, but because of getting ready for the show and practising, I didn't have enough

time," said Lal. "Every year l play here I break a string on the first song."

RPO has been a band for almost two years. This was their second attempt at Bandwarz.

"The first time we played Bandwarz it was good, it got our name out, " said RPO front-man Travis Sanders. "This year was just insane. It felt iike the crowd was connecting a lot more this year."

8randon Semple the manager of RPO, has been involved with the band since the beginning.

"I video-tape all of their shows," said Semple. "I probably have about 1S hours of concert footage."

The band recorded an independant four-song demo that they have been giving out for free at shows. The band is currently working on an 11-song LP.

RPO's drummer Jeff Wells enjoyed the crowd at Bandwarz.

"We gave a lot of energy out and we got a lot back. They (the audience) rock," he said.

RPO is not all about self-promotion they like to help out the local scene.

"We're trying to bring out the metal scene in Oshawa," said Sanders. "It's like a brotherhood."

RPO will be playing a few shows soon, including a 19 + show at the Atria in Oshawa on March 14 and on March 22 in Toronto at the third floor of Relies for the One World Beat Music Festival.

For more Information on the bamd visit www.RPOband.com or e-mail them at RP0band@hotmail.com.

Sin 7 took the stage at around 11p.m. The seven-piece from Ajax had a high-energy set that sounded like Linkin Park crossed with Alien Ant Farm.

Sin 7 were the first band this year to have a turntable in their music. The scratching record went well but was often over-powered by the rest of the band.

The band also had an upside down American flag with the words: DISARM BUSH spray-painted on it hanging behind the band.

Sin 7 had two singers. During their set one of the microphones cut out, so the two singers shared one mike passing it back and forth during the song while the other mike was being fixed.

The last band scheduled for the night was Piston Honda but they negiected to show up.

Only two more Bandwarz remain before the finals held on March 29 which will be televised on Rogers. - The Durham College Chronicle: March 18, 2003

"RPO comes out on top of warz"

DURHAM - The hard-driving rock sounds of RPO earned the band the title of 2004 Bandwarz champion last weekend.

The group, with members from Oshawa and Ajax, were judged the best in the final showcase with eight other bands on Saturday night. RPO had entered the contest in the last three years, enjying their most success a couple of years ago.

"We were a finalist two years ago, and we really didn't expect to win," said band member Vaughn Lal.

"Mostly, we wanted to have fun," Shane Appleton, another member, said, adding winning Bandwarz is a result of hard work and dedication. "But, we have been waiting a long time for this."

The five-piece band also features Travis Sanders, Jeff Wells and Jordan Zylstra.

They were up against the Agnostics, Hidden Echo, One Second 2 Late, Recall, Tennfold. SRrAtch3, Green Division and Torsion in the final showcase held at Le Skratch in Oshawa on April 17. Judges said it came down to a close decision between RPO and two other finalists, SKrAtch3 and Green Division.

"You got the crowd behind you, which is very important," said Gregg Stewart, from Universal Records.

Chris McKee, from Feldman and Associates, added, "You definitely have something."

As Bandwarz 2004 champion, RPO receives $1,000 in cash, a prize package from Alcatraz Skates, recording time at Mad Hermit Studios to complete a three-song demo package produced by Wellcraft Music and will be part of a showcase at North By Northeast Music Festival and Conference (NXNE) in Toronto.

Runner-up SKrAtch3 receives recording time at Mad Hermit Studios to be part of the contest CD produced by Wellcraft Music. "It was another close competition," said event producer Kerri King, of Eclipse Concerts. "It says something about the talent we have in Durham Region."

The 2004 Bandwarz final showcase was taped and will be broadcast on Rogers Television.

Bandwarz 2004 is sponsored by Alcatraz Skates, Discover Communications, durhamregion.com, Le Skratch Billiard Bar and Grill, Mad Hermit Studios, Rogers Television, Rogers Wireless and the Wellcraft Music Group. - Ajax/Pickering News Advertiser: April, 2004


Trip to Freedom - LP (Released Dec. 2 2005)


Feeling a bit camera shy


RPO is a metal/punk influenced hard rock band. Heavy and melodic, but NOT 'Nu-Metal'. RPO strives to write songs that are as much fun to listen to as they are to play (for us) and see (for the audience) live.

RPO is an Oshawa based hard rock band that has been rocking the indie scene since January 2002. RPO strives to write songs that are as much fun to listen to as they are to play (for us) and see (for the audience) live. The energy they put into their music and their performances impacts fans new and old at every show. Comprised of Shane Appleton (Guitar), Vaughn Lal (Bass), Travis Sanders (Vocals), Jeff Wells (Drums) and Jordan Zylstra (Guitar), RPO has been pushing their way through the local music scene, working with other established indie bands throughout Ontario and earning high accolades at every band competition they've participated in.

RPO placed 1st in the finals Eclipse Concerts "Bandwarz 2004" and placed 2nd in the finals for 2 Supernova competitions as well as the Paragon 2 finals. The second of the 2 Supernova competitions led to an opening slot for GOB at The Docks (November 6, 2004) and a third place win. RPO has become known for bringing kids by the bus-load down to these competitions. Their fan base has become larger with every show as they are constantly capturing new fans with their intense music and performance. This solid following has helped RPO find sponsorships with WEST49 and Machinetribe while also securing support from other local and province-wide businesses. RPO's professional approach to their music often results in their working all days of the week. They are constantly writing, recording, practicing, playing shows and and promoting their music.

With the help of investors and producer Jim Hopson of Wellcraft Music, RPO has recently released their 1st LP "Trip to Freedom" on December 2nd to a hungry crowd. CD and merch (t-shirts, hoodies, girlie tanktops) sales are strong and naturally will grow stronger as RPO prepares to get into a steady stream of shows (4-8 per month) in the GTA and across Southern Ontario. To coincide with the album release, RPO's 1st video "Find Me", shot by Justin McConnell of Unstable Ground, will be released onto MuchMusic in January 2006. Also on the video front, RPO's CD release and progress since then is currently being documented by director Russell Cameron of Frozen World Productions. From this footage RPO will release a DVD for sale, and video portion for their EPK and a second video for MuchMusic for their song "Escape".

As RPO enters 2006 and its 4th year of existence they continue to grow stronger. With more and more to show for, RPO goal is to share our music and our show with as much of the world as possible.