Down below the Guild of Students in The Cellar, a war started Monday night: BandSoc’s 2016 Battle of the Bands. Thirteen bands competed in one of three heats in order to win a place in the final on the Wednesday 16th March. The Finalists then duke it out for: two days of professional recording; a headline spot at next year’s final; and their name on the coveted Battle of the Bands Trophy.
The first heat was an intense battle between four bands:
Up first were the Disastronauts; a Fiesty Four piece Alternative/ Power Rock group consisting of George Buxey on Vocals/Lead Guitar, Tayler Little on Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Ted Barnes playing Bass and Adam Clarke on Drums. Being the first act on is nerve racking regardless, but even with such high stakes the band took it in their stride, playing a set of energetic songs which opened with Bikini Kill’s ‘Rebel Grrl’; the band got a lot of the crowd on their side very quickly. They had great chemistry together, with easily some of the best sage presence all night (especially impressive considering this was only their second live performance), be it while playing or joking around between tracks; these guys are clearly a tight knit group with heaps of potential.
Inspirations: Bikini Kill, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Sonic Youth
Next came Freeman’s Lock, made up of vocalist Jordan, Andy on guitar, bassist Jack, and drummer Dom. The band played loud, over-driven tunes which showed clear influence from 80s/90s Grunge and Shoegaze music, but overall they carved out a fairly unique sound – this was shown off best during their ultra heavy cover of ‘Tainted Love’. Though the band seemed to be having a great time together, a few long quiet pauses between songs were enough to break the flow, and at times felt a little tedious. Overall this band were good but had a difficult time keeping any momentum they built.
Inspirations: My Bloody Valentine, Queens of the Stone Age, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors
Benjamin Roche (vocals/guitar), Rob Mutch (vocals/guitar), Lee Shaw (bass/backing vocals) and Stuart Wilson (drums/backing vocals) make up this suave group who play funky music, again, in a really unique style. The group have a jazzy, rock and roll vibe and pull it all off dressed in pretty formal attire – channeling their inner Beatles maybe? The group seem to be fairly varied in terms of influences but all the members were highly skilled; this diversity of interest only made the band better. Their distinctiveness was showcased most prominently in an improvised bass solo at the end of the bands last song ‘The Hate Shake’, which was a highlight of the night.
Influences: Katy Perry, Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Bowie, Pantera
Black Pulp’s set started off with a few slow melancholy tunes, and the band’s talent shone through most in the more fast paced songs in the second half of their set. An unexpected cover of Drake’s “Hold on We’re Going Home” was a highlight but the band’s own songs were great quality both in terms of composition and lyrically. They have a fairly indie sound which anyone who listens to The 1975 will love. Black Pulp consist of; Jack Smith on vocals and guitar; Sam Holt on bass; Matt Bayliss on lead guitar; and Stephen Williams on the drums.
Influences: The 1975, Stone Roses, Tame Impala, Rick Astley, Tom McClory, Uri Geller
After this it was time to cast votes; the energy was electric as people jostled to vote for their favourite act. A tense ten minutes followed whilst the votes were counted, though ultimately The Disastronauts came out on top, earning themselves a place in the final. Overall the night was great and the four unique and varied acts made the atmosphere awesome.
Heat 2- 8th March @ The Cellar
Heat 3- 10th March @ The Cellar
Final- 16th March