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Local group wins Battle of the Bands

Through the Fall’s sound is described as “good music for people who like heavier music,” as put by guitarist/vocalist Justen Wyatt.

But any attempt to classify the Clanton-based band without a listen would undoubtedly fall short. There is also a strong focus on harmony — something that aims to bring the best of both worlds to the music.

“We don’t want to sound like everyone else. We just want to be a little bit better,” said drummer Doug Vironet.

Perhaps it’s that commitment and strong work ethic that put them over the top Sunday, Sept. 6, when Through the Fall took the top spot in Battle of the Bands at Club Zydeco in Five Points. Beating out nine other bands garnered them $500 in cash and 20 hours of recording time.

The competition was put on by Gorilla Productions, a promotion company offering a hefty prize — a national tour, $25,000 in cash and a recording contract to the national winner.

The winner was selected based on crowd response. The club was packed with 800 people, and Through the Fall was last to take the stage. They got to choose the headliner spot because they sold the most tickets.

“I got goose bumps talking about it,” Vironet said.

The band that would become Through the Fall started in 2005, with Wyatt and two former members, a drummer and bassist.

Guitarist Tony Esposite, a Clanton native who lives in Alabaster, soon joined. Vironet and bassist/vocalist Bobby Nelson of Thorsby joined in 2007, and lead vocalist Brad Hubbard of McCalla came aboard a few months ago.

Wyatt and Esposite are credited with the band’s name, which has come to represent the members’ perseverance through trials and tribulations.

“We didn’t really know what it meant at first,” Wyatt admitted.

Although all the members have full-time jobs, they are as close as family. Vironet even cooks breakfast when he hosts the practices at his home.

“There’s a lot of love in this band. That’s for sure,” he said.

Vironet is the only member of the band with kids. He has two, ages 9 and 6. And his family is supportive of the band’s demanding schedule.

“We arrange our lives around what they’ve got going on, usually,” said his wife, Jeonna.

Most of the songs they perform are originals. Among their influences are metal acts Kill Switch Engage and All That Remains.

Vironet said he is influenced more by style than particular groups.

“I like jazz-style drumming because it’s really intricate and hard to play,” he said, adding that no one in the band has had formal lessons. “We’re just raw talent, learning on our own.”

Everyone has a hand in songwriting. They also echo real-life experiences. “We focus on points of everyday things. It’s not fake. It’s nothing Satanic or anything like that,” Wyatt said.

The band has recorded a three-song demo and hopes to have at least seven songs for its first release. They perform regularly at various spots throughout Birmingham and have a dedicated following of 30-40 people who attend every show.

The band can be contacted at myspace.com/throughthefall08.