Live Review: Eastbourne Extreme Battle of The Bands

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This week has seen harsh times for the media. The collapse of The News of The World has proven beyond all doubt that the industry is not invulnerable and that the people of this country will always unite behind a cause they believe in. After 168 years the paper that has entertained millions every Sunday is no more, and much like the world’s favourite paper I too must say “Thank you and goodbye”.

For the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of covering the heats of The Eastbourne Extreme Battle of The Bands, and as the 9 week long event draws to a close I feel I should look back on what I’ve seen. Before this all started I heard a lot of hearsay; I was told that the event was a shambles and that musical talent was irrelevant, that all a band needed to do to win was bring along a large crowd and cover a few popular songs.

Now that the heats are over I can tell you with no shadow of a doubt that the rumours circulating were false; this battle of the bands has proven itself and talent has always come through on top. This week, the final heat of this event, Glass Anthem, Audio 6, and Re-Suffocate battled it out.

First on stage was the second female fronted band to compete in this competition; Glass Anthem. With vocals that at times sounded like Florence Welch and movements that reminded me of Beth Ditto, this girl was clearly an adept front-woman. Although at times her vocal range just wasn’t good enough the chosen songs fitted her well and on finding her own sound she really could go far. Glass Anthem didn’t have enough original material and covered songs like Ever Fallen in Love by Buzzcocks. If they learnt to interact with the crowd more and wrote a few of their own songs this talented band could really have a chance in future competitions.

Next on stage was another female fronted band and one of my favourite bands to have competed in the competition; Audio 6. It was great during this heat to see two female fronted bands that weren’t trying to be Hayley Williams of Paramore. Audio 6 looked great on stage; the front woman had the looks and talent to match, and the rest of the band were brilliant musicians. This band did too many covers; Zombie by the Cranberries, My Immortal by Evanescence, Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N Roses, and Dakota by Stereophonics, but made up for it with their superior talent. The vocalist’s voice was not quite good enough to reach the vocal ranges required to pull off My Immortal but the song suited her well and she should be commended for attempting such a difficult track. The band’s single had more of a rockier, girl power edge than some of their songs; it got the crowd clapping and had really catchy lyrics. I loved this band, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win the entire event.

Next up on stage was Re-Suffocate; the last band to compete for a final spot this year. From the very start this band got the crowd to the front of the stage, got the crowd moving, and got them clapping. The band had great energy and was even smart enough to teach the crowd the words to one of their songs. Unfortunately they were mediocre both musically and vocally, with the singer occasionally sounding like a pterodactyl when he screamed, and a lot of their songs sounded the same. Re-Suffocate seemed to have good lyrics, it was just a shame that they were impossible to hear; I believe that if they used their backing vocals more they could make their songs come across better and have more of a chance in future.

Throughout this event there have been many nights that have been hard to find a definite winner in, but this week, like last week, was easy to score. I felt that Audio 6 had the most in band chemistry, had the best single, the most potential, and put on the best overall performance. Re-Suffocate communicated with the crowd most effectively and had the best stage presence. My personal ranking for this final heat was Re-Suffocate in third place, Glass Anthem in second place, and Audio 6 to win.

The judges thought that Glass Anthem were very impressive, had brilliant song writing, and could cover songs well. However the judges thought that they were a bit sloppy between songs, a bit scrappy, not quite there vocally, and in need of more original material. Glass Anthem came second with 742 points and are in 19th place overall.

The judges thought that Audio 6 communicated brilliantly, had great guitar work, looked great on stage, were extremely talented, had great energy, and gave it their all. They said that they would have liked to have seen more original songs and that they was room for improvement. Audio 6 came first with 914 points putting them in 5th place overall and through to the finals as the winners of this final heat.

The judges didn’t have very much to say about Re-Suffocate but they felt they were a very energetic band, said that they couldn’t really hear their lyrics, and thought the rest of the band needed to take more control as well as the singer. Re-Suffocate came third with 630 points putting them in 23rd place overall.

I’m very sad to come to the end of these heats. It’s been quite an experience for me and I can’t wait for the finals. I would like to thank Sian for organising a great event, Terrence for being a great soundman, the judges for speaking their minds, the barmaid Jo for bringing me pint after pint of water, and my driver for shepherding me back and forth to the events. See you all Saturday.

Originally published here: http://sqmagazine.co.uk/2011/07/eastbourne-extreme-battle-of-the-bands-2011-heat-eight/

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