A diverse selection of local bands in a battle to the death!


From 3 Inches of Blood, to They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, the history of Shindig has been seeped in violence and gore. Rumour has it that the contest is cursed – but is it a losing battle for everyone, or is there hope for this year’s participants?

Each September for about the past 25 years, CiTR, UBC’s radio station, has put on a battle of the bands called Shindig at the Railway Club. Every Tuesday night, three local bands duke it out in an attempt to move on to the next round, in the hopes of eventually performing on the final night of the competition. But what happens if you win? Do the hours of free recoding time turn into a hit album, promoted by all the press and advertising on the CiTR website? Or is winning Shindig the worst possible fate for your band, dooming you to break up, fail miserably or even… die?

According to Celina Kurz and Alie Lynch of Kidnap Kids!, the curse is very real, and definitely something to be reckoned with. “Sometimes [the winning bands] break up, then they get back together... then they DIE.” explains Kurz. So why did Kidnap Kids! enter Shindig? They performed on Night Five and won, moving themselves closer to the doomed winners’ position. Why are these two adorable Cap students putting their lives in danger by entering this contest? “To prove the curse wrong!” Lynch states proudly.

But is their goal unrealistic? Has any band ever survived winning Shindig? According to Ben Lai, the event host and part of the organizing team, the curse isn’t even a threat at all. “To be truthful,” he says, “I don't think there is [any basis to the curse] at all.” He does allude briefly to a machete incident that happened a few years ago, but doesn’t go into any detail, and denies that it has anything to do with the curse. Right.

It’s true that if you look into what the previous Shindig winners are up to now, many bands are still together and making music. According to Ben Lai, though, “A lot of the bands that have done better sometimes have been bands that didn't win, oddly enough.” And it is odd. Although 3 Inches of Blood, the 2001 winners (the first night they won was September 11, 2001. Creepy!), have had substantial prosperity, other bands who have not won, such as You Say Party! We Say Die! Have noticeably had more success in the long run.

Perhaps success is in the exclamation marks. Or maybe referring to death, blood, or crime in your band name is the only way to win the competition and remain unscathed.

Enzio Verster, whose (not so aggressively-named) band Half Chinese won Night Two of this year’s Shindig, is uneasy about being in such a potentially life-threatening competition. “I had to enter.” he says, “I didn't really want to, though.” His band mate, Harrison Pratt, is a film student at Cap. Neither of them is too fervent about winning the contest, instead treating the event more like an ordinary gig. “A way to play the Railway Club without having to talk to the managers,” jokes Pratt. Maybe that is the best attitude to take, considering what has happened to prideful bands in the past.

A basic Google search of the band Fanshaw finds their interview with Only magazine in 2007, right after their big Shindig win. When the topic of the curse is brought up, the lead singer Liv states boldly that Fanshaw isn’t worried. Evidently, the curse did not appreciate her hubris. Fanshaw broke up within the year.

The really scary thing is that every band to perform Shindig will break up, and eventually die. It’s proven. In fact, everyone who actually attends Shindig will die. The curse is so far reaching that anyone who even hears the word “shindig” will die. I’m killing you by writing this article. Anyone you meet after reading this will die, too. But then again, as an anonymous crowd member at the Railway Club put simply, “It's only a matter of time”.

Shindig is happening every Tuesday night at the Railway Club until the finals on December 8th. Come prepared with a joke if you want to win free beer, during Jokes for Beer between the second and third band. It’s always fun. How could it not be?

For more information on this deadly competition, visit

//Sarah Vitet


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