‘Make It Happen Together’
Gwireddu'r Cyfan Gyda'n Gilydd
Tel 029 2046 2222
Unit 12, Royal Stuart Workshops
Adelaide Place, Cardiff, CF10 5BR
On Saturday the five finalists in the CLIC Battle Of The Bands competed in front of a small but excited audience to be crowned winner and receive an incredible prize: recording time in a studio, a video and photo shoot, and an mp3 of their song produced and distributed to many suppliers including iTunes, amongst other things.
The gig took place in the President’s Lounge of the Millennium Stadium, no doubt a normally decorous and genteel venue, but today transformed to a sea of CLIC baseball caps, check shirts and lovers of good music.
Given the quality of the prizes the atmosphere was electric as the sound checks progressed, and then the bands began, each having twenty minutes to impress the crowd and the judges: Becci Scotcher-Jones ofOxjam, Gregory Barton from GRAB Promotions, Scott Lee-Andrews of Exit International / Midasuno and Darran Smith from the band Funeral For A Friend.
Each of the bands demonstrated just why they had been voted into the final five: all were really good musicians, all of the vocalists had talent, and all of the songs demonstrated impressive song writing ability. Here is a brief run-down of the finalists:
Indie-Go Modem: The six-piece group of guys had the unenviable task of going first, and impressed with their variety of songs. One slow, one ‘classic’ rock sounding, and all pretty decent, Indie-Go Modem also had a cool keyboard riff running through most songs. As well as their own songs the band treated us to an acoustic version of Kids by MGMT, which went down well.
Solace Awaits: A second six-piece, the health-and-safety baiting Solace Awaits really injected some energy into proceedings. Clearly relaxed and accomplished performers, the band literally got the crowd involved, as the guitarist rocked out up close and the singer wandered throughout the room. Male and female vocalists Bee and Matti make their songs truly distinctive, and the band’s stomping guitar riffs were fantastic. I also enjoyed their slightly gothic feel (not that they were all dressed in black and crying), as well as their atmospheric recorded intro which led into one of my favourite songs of the day.
Riot City Saints: There were only five of these guys, but they made more noise than the first two bands put together! They really look the part of an American hard rock group, and totally act the part too – singer Jon was… intense, and their drummer Tomm was a true rock god – big, beard, tattoos, vest (and insanely good drumming). Awesome.
The Calling Card: This band consisted of just the singer and the guitarist, due to their drummer booking his holiday in the belief that his band wouldn’t reach the final! There’s confidence for you. Despite this they delivered a beautiful acoustic set, which had the other bands swaying together with the crowd, a perfect treat following the frantic rock of the previous band. Thanks to the acoustic nature of their set the skill of their song writing was evident, and allowed the crowd to join in with the lyrics.
The Hostages: (Pictured) The final band played to a tiring crowd, but you wouldn’t have believed it. Lead singer and guitarist TJ displayed thoroughly contagious energy levels, and within seconds the crowd were bouncing. This level did not drop, as they gave us one infectiously fun song after another, with indecently catchy riffs and choruses. Very tight musicians, their enjoyment was evident and totally rubbed off on the crowd.
The judges were given ten high-pressure minutes to make their decision (no doubt made more intense by the two cameras trained on them), and eventually went with The Hostages as overall winners of the competition, which I think was probably the right decision.
To be honest I thought Solace Awaits had it in the bag until The Hostages performed, and then it was really game on. In the end the latter band edged it for me in terms of having that little extra professionalism, but I will be following both with interest and enjoying their songs again, as can you at their Myspace profiles.
That goes for all of the bands, I urge you to check them out.
Kudos to Ryan, Lo and everyone involved for the stellar organisation, and to the bands for putting on a memorable show!
IMAGES: Lo Price, Vicki Roach & Zoe Elizabeth
Review by neilramsden from Cardiff – Published on 21/09/2010 at 09:59