Battle of the Bands heat 2

The event got off to a late start, but all the better to build up a bit off a buzz outside the union doors and get the punters truly ready for some Battle of the Bands second heat action. Not having witnessed the first heats, but hearing generally good feedback from an astonished Michael Sinclair, I was looking forward to finding out for myself what Warwick’s BandSoc had to offer at the renowned annual event. Once the amassing crowds starting pouring in and the pints were flowing, a relaxed but enthused atmosphere lead the way for first act, Lead Resonance, to take to the stage.

The charismatic front man, who even apologised for the delay, got the tournament off to an astounding start, with his Matt Bellamy-esque vocals being well worth the wait. Impressive harmonies and quality riffs from the lead guitarist made for some interesting tunes, and the passion and energy of the band even managed to inspire some movement in the crowd: an impressive feat for the first act of the night. With the final song appearing to take it down a notch, having a lighter vibe, Lead Resonance surprised and impressed with a heavy chorus bringing their set to a sweaty crescendo, and set the bar high for the bands to follow. Definitely one of my favourite bands of the night, it seemed the rest would have a lot to live up to.

Next up were a sort of indie Brit-Pop number named Rodriguez, who got off to a more than shaky start. The screaming, banner-wielding fans unfortunately couldn’t make up for the awkward vocals and music which was more often than not out of time. Alongside this the cringingly rhyming lyrics gave the air of an unrehearsed Hard-Fi meets The View with one spectator even commenting that the cocky front man was “deluded if he thought that was anything beyond the average band practise- of a bad band”. I have to give him credit for an attempt at stage presence though, even if he was just introducing the band members to an obviously already well-acquainted posse of admiring followers in the crowd. The music left a lot to be desired, with each song just sort of falling apart or trailing off.

The third band, Ignis, started off with an atmospheric, energetic instrumental, with keys alongside funky guitar bringing a new vibe to the venue. As a favourite from the previous year, Ignis received a lot of love from the crowd and it was certainly not undeserved. Synth-ey keyboard paired with moody lyrics and genius guitar grooves made for music that you could move to, and that also made the little hairs on your arms stand-up. Yes, that good.

Progressive experimental rockers Curse These Metal Hands, though lacking stage presence, must be hailed for the fingers on their lead guitarist who really could pluck a tune. Comical groovy interaction between the front man and guitarist seemed a little incongruous with the sombre lyrics, though all in all fun to watch, and certainly listenable.

Witches Brew, an eclectic funky-blues band made up of a plethora of members from around the globe introduced an all together different sound which went down fabulously with the crowd, bringing about an air of cool sophistication, in both style and sound, to the gig. Hubert, the guitarist, brought some impressive riffs to the stage, bringing about a buzzing atmosphere that got the crowd jittering. Witty lyrics of the charismatic front man blended with smooth bass lines and striking guitar skills went down a treat.

Undoubtedly though, BandSoc had something hidden up their sleeve for a Warwick BOTB novice such as myself, and certainly saved the best for last. Despite already being prepared for an energy packed performance by the pre-gig stripping down of the immensely maned old-school rockers, nothing could have equipped me for the small but feisty front woman who absolutely owned the stage. Hot Magenta’s fiery vocals and blistering presence had heads thrashing, bodies moving, and even the crowd singing along. The natural confidence and technical brilliance of Hot Magenta ended the night on a massive high, and it was no surprise to find out they were last year’s winners. Finishing the last song with one snapped string for the guitarist and one hell of a sweaty Tempo, Hot Magenta were easy winners of the second heat, with Lead Resonance coming in a close but fair second.


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