Photo: Rachel Oates Photography

Battle of The Bands Final 2015: Cloudfleet take the crown

The Battle of the Bands final for 2015 was a fiercely fought contest that saw 6 excellent bands duke it out for the title of winners. It was a well-run evening with a good variety of music, that delivered great entertainment on the whole.

To get things started, Nakpat took to the stage, although in their frontman’s case he started in the crowd in true hardcore style to kick things off. The energy was infectious and for a hardcore fan such as myself they were a treat, they mixed seriously heavy riffs with some solid ambient breaks to make for a relatively diverse set.  The frontman was a ball of energy as he tore through the crowd and got everyone pumped; however the sound check on vocals was poor and you could barely make out what he was shouting at points. This was a real shame and detracted from an overall decent performance.

It was a great set to just close your eyes and lose yourself to

Cloudfleet, in total contrast to Nakpat, were an ambient math-pop group and brought a more chilled vibe to proceedings. They were well rehearsed and handled some tricky instrumental work with style. It was a great set to just close your eyes and lose yourself to, with the vocals having a pleasing warming quality to them. Arguably the set lacked a bit of energy and Cloudfleet didn’t have too much stage presence, but it was still thoroughly enjoyable. The Ready Wednesdays had flown through what was known as the ‘heat of death’ straight to the final, and delivered yet another stellar performance. They had a simple but incredibly fun and catchy sound which even had me singing along by the end of one of their tracks called ‘Wonder’. The band benefitted from having two great vocalists who weren’t afraid to go for it and really delivered on the night, with both vocalists being the best I heard all night. These guys really impressed me and definitely have a great future if they keep it up. Funk the Po-Lice were next to bring a cool atmosphere into the Copper Rooms. Overall their set was decent; it was full of tight musicianship, with a big shout-out to the brilliant keyboard player as well as the rest of the band. The addition of a horn section from their performance in the heats added something different and gave energy to their live performance; yet all in all the set sounded a bit samey and once you get past the novelty appeal of funk, it felt a bit vacuous compared to the other more substantial acts.

Putting my fingers in my ears they sounded good…

Next up to bring experimental indie shenanigans were BABU. Being entirely honest I was disappointed by these guys. They had delivered huge sets in both their heat and the subsequent semi-final that had seen them reach the final. I’d had them pegged as a strong outside bet to win before the final, but on the night their set was far too loud and drowned out all the pleasant intricacies of the guitar work that had made them so appealing in their heat. Putting my fingers in my ears they sounded good, but unfortunately their previously imperious live performances were watered down by a poor sound-check on this occasion and this basically ruled them out of the running, but I’ll be shocked if they’re not back next year. To cap the evening off were the highly enjoyable Feralsect. They were a great band to end the evening with, bringing tonnes of energy and keeping everyone on their toes to the last riff. I enjoyed them so much that I spent the majority of their set in the mosh-pit, having a generally very pleasant time. They worked the post-hardcore basics well, being incredibly well rehearsed and having solid strong structures as well as a frontman who can growl with the best of them. By the end of the night my personal favourites were The Ready Wednesdays, but I was expecting Feralsect to win. Sadly for myself The Ready Wednesdays didn’t even make the top three as Funk the Po-Lice took third, Feralsect came second and Cloudfleet took the crown.

Their success could have had something to do with the Bandsoc president being a member

The members of the crowd that I spoke to were quite shocked by the decision, with very few people even having Cloudfleet in their top three. Potentially their success could have had something to do with the Bandsoc president being a member. Arguably Funk the Po-Lice may have also benefitted from having a Bandsoc exec amongst their ranks as they weren’t in many people’s top slots either. All the bands were definitely there on merit but in the end the judge’s decision did cause quite a bit of dissent amongst the crowd and brought a strange tone of conspiracy to the end of the evening. Either way it was a great night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I can’t wait till next year’s event and all the potential and talent that will be on show then.

Comments (17)

  • For the sake of putting this issue to bed and all of us being able to turn our attention to our pressing work concerns, I’d like to once more apologise for what I now realise to be my ignorance of how the society is run and organised and how the contest is marked and the negative connotations of this article. I’ll certainly take all the advice on-board and hope to do better in the future.

  • Daniel Indiana

    Bandsoc used Burn on Will Hunt. It was Super Effective.

    I can only echo what has been said below. We all really appreciate your opinions and critique but that was never the issue. All bands/acts are reviewed by a series of judges across the duration of the competition and bandsoc members have a tendency to be very honest with each other when it comes to opinions on quality. Don’t try and pass this off as us being upset by your comments on our performances. People commenting here are upset because of your suggestion of exec members having an advantage over non exec members. In general, exec members are very passionate about bandsoc and music and as such practice very hard (harder than non exec bands) and they do this both in the bandsoc room and out of it. The Exec also try and make practice room use as fair as possible and no one can book slots before they are available – so your argument kind of falls apart in this regard…

    Again I hope this backlash doesn’t stop you from wanting to report for the boar or cover this competition, I feel you should do so without passing on your own opinions as fact.

  • Adam Thompson

    “monopolisation of practice spaces by Exec bands”
    “reaping the rewards of having first dibs on practice spaces”

    I feel it is important for you to note that exec bands use the same booking system as any other band, which works by allowing booking a week in advance of any one day, i.e. if it is monday and you want to book a slot for next Tuesday you stay up until midnight when the Tuesday booking goes live and book that slot. If the booking form ever appeared to be “monopolised” by exec bands, it was becase the bands concerned stayed up until midnight and booked the slot, just like anyone else could have. Exec bands have no priveledge in terms of early booking and only take up to a single “free” credit per week as payback for running the society, which I feel is a very fair system.

    As to a “lack of an appropriate social platform” – over the past year the society held jam nights every couple of weeks, a myriad of other socials and has an excellent forum that facilliates formation of bands. I’m not saying that this is ideal, but do you have a “more appropriate” idea of building a social platform? I’m sure if you do the current bandsoc exec would love to hear it.

    For the record, I don’t care about your musical opinions or your critical CV. I got involved in this debate to debunk the slanderous horseshit you chose to publish in public media. No-one is arguing with your opinions and you are perfectly welcome to them, we argued with the fact you published lies as fact.

  • Will McKeown

    Miles I feel like you are being too harsh on yourself as a journalist; suggesting a good old conspiracy to get people talking = good journalism right?

    It’s worked no?

    So I don’t think that many people actually care about your ability as a journalist or how many bands you have seen or that you heard a Math-rock band once because you are entitled to your opinion and that should be respected. As a (now past) exec member this article miffed me a little bit because the exec work hard to ensure impartiality

    (see the forum –

    but you weren’t to know.

    Your replies largely evaluate your ability to judge and write about music rather than acknowledging the main point that people are flagging as problematic here: Simon’s presidency had NOTHING to do with the Cloudfleet victory. It is that insinuation that is damaging to the society but don’t worry, I don’t think bandsoc will excommunicate rocksoc because of your writing, it isn’t THAT bad.

    I also take issue with your argument that certain bands book more practices and therefore deserve bad press. Do you think that people who revise for a test to a greater extent deserve a lower grade? The people who are most involved with live music and bands inevitably spend more time at it. They form friendships with people of similar priorities and values and therefore practice more. It is likely that they will be exec but this isn’t always the case.

    I can’t even remember the last time the president won BOTB, it was certainly before my time. I would suggest that you stop justifying and evaluating your judgement, stop making claims about the former president that you can in no way substantiate and check out a societies’ website before you write up one of their events. Make sure they do not have a subjective, externally judged set of criteria to determine the rankings

  • Will Britton-Minney


    A fine reply. I respect your honesty and sensitivity about the matter at hand, and absolutely agree that any reply to an article should be based on an honest assessment of the article itself as opposed to an unwarranted ad hominem attack on an individual from either party involved.

    Regarding the issue with a small minority of Bandsoc members feeling that exec dominates the show, this is certainly something we will look into. As I’ve said, I personally don’t feel that it is an enormous issue but naturally I’m willing to admit that I may be mistaken and would be happy, even though I’m no longer on exec, to help with remedying any issues that might exist.

    Once again I’d like to thank you for taking the time to reply. Good luck with your essays!

  • [7] Very, very finally I would just like to
    clear up an issue to do with inter-society relations. I have enjoyed
    being a member of Rocksoc this year and I’m aware that in an attempt
    to improve the social platform of Bandsoc, there are plans for
    Co-society socials in the future. I hope that in no way my actions
    reflect Rocksoc, as the society is very fond of BOTB and I’m just a
    member acting on my own basis. Hopefully we can possibly bury the
    hatchet, although I do fully understand if certain people would
    rather not, still I do intend on continuing to be an active member of
    Rocksoc next year.

    I’m well aware that this reply may throw up further issues and I will do my best to get back to those in due time however, Being entirely honest I am a tad behind on my essays at the moment and I won’t be able to reply for a while, so please bare this in mind if waiting on another answer.

  • [6] I appreciate that my comments do make
    it sound worse than what I intended to imply and again I apologise
    for this, however I do think that possibly if Bandsoc is worried
    about its reputation, it should consider that I’m not entirely alone
    in my thoughts and that I’m not the only one who is necessarily
    damaging the reputation of the society, although I do appreciate the
    difference between private discontent and published discontent, which
    is why I now feel I was wrong to send it for publishing.

    finish off I would like to thank Will especially for posting a
    considerate comment that made the job of replying much easier, as it
    gave a detailed list of problems to respond to. I would like to
    apologise to anyone whose feelings I hurt and to re-emphasise my
    point that everyone there at the final was there on merit and that I
    wasn’t trying to denigrate their skill, more that I felt for reasons
    I’ve explained that perhaps other bands should have been considered
    for the win and that potentially some Bandsoc practices (knowingly or
    not) would have generated an advantage for some. Again I’d like to
    thank Will for his exceedingly polite request that I cover the event
    next year (wiser and older), but I do believe that this probably
    would not be for the best given how much I appear to have not done
    myself or the competition justice with this attempt.

  • [5] With regards to what I said about
    Bandsoc, there were reasons for what I said. Throughout the year I
    have spoken to people in and out of Bandsoc who have had complaints
    about certain aspects of the society all year long. The main
    annoyance that I came across was the monopolisation of practice
    spaces by Exec bands (something I was told by a few people). People
    I’ve spoken to within the society felt it also lacked an appropriate
    social platform for people to come together and form bands and were
    frustrated by this as obviously Bandsoc presents potentially great
    opportunities for those who do want to express themselves musically
    on campus. Whilst I understand that the society would strive to avoid
    claims of nepotism, a small minority do think that the society is a
    platform for self-promotion for the exec. This said, perhaps you can
    imagine what it might have seemed like to me when 3 bands containing
    the bulk of the exec finished in the top 3 slots of the

    In my article I fully admit that it sounds like
    I’m accusing the society of rigging which wasn’t my intention and as
    previously admitted to, it was not written properly and did not
    convey my grievances with the result properly either. My thoughts on
    the result were that Bandsoc was perhaps not intentionally bestowing
    a platform upon themselves but were reaping the rewards of having
    first dibs on practice spaces and were somewhat oblivious to the
    impression this was conveying to the members of the society that I
    spoke to. It struck me that whilst Bandsoc had not rigged the
    competition, it felt as if it were somehow tilted in Bandsoc exec’s

  • [4] With regards to the people in the
    crowd I spoke to, I’m happy to admit that I must’ve spoken to an
    anomalous group as out of the ten or so I spoke to, what I’ve
    reported is what I heard from them, but again I clearly didn’t have
    the best of luck in finding a fair representation of crowd opinion.

    I wasn’t setting out to insult anyone’s musical ability with
    this review but as cohesive wholes I felt these bands did come short
    (something I now understand to be a minority opinion). On that note I
    would like to apologise to anyone for any feelings I’ve hurt with
    regards to creative content.

  • [3] This said I thought that all the bands
    at the final were very good musically and well rehearsed for uni
    bands that had to organise around work and other distractions.
    However my reasons for being harsh on FTP and Cloudfeet were that,
    whilst both were undoubtedly tight, I felt that there was not a great
    deal of anything else on show. Whilst musical ability and tightness
    may be the most important factor for a live band for some people, I
    approach music in a more pragmatic way. The simplest of music can be
    some of the greatest when it is delivered with energy, emotion and
    also something to set it apart from others.

    FTP played well
    and funk in an unadulterated form is quite rare these days, giving
    you guys a solid sound. However even with the addition of the horn
    section I couldn’t help but feel that it was too atmospheric and
    lacked enough impact to win the competition. Similarly Cloudfeet
    played excellently, I listen to a fair few Math-”genre” bands and
    it certainly can be some of the toughest and most impressive stuff to
    play, but again that in itself isn’t enough for me to win a
    competition. Cloudfeet have a fantastic vocalist who was brilliant in
    Instinct by Default last year, but I felt on this occasion that I
    wasn’t getting the same emotion from her performance and honestly I
    felt the lyrics for both bands weren’t those of winning bands, hence
    my musical reasoning for my review.

  • [2] I’ve been writing for the Boar’s music
    section all year and part of that process is trying to become a
    better journalist. Reflecting upon previous live reviews I had
    written, I had come to the conclusion that I had to be more critical
    and less soft to improve my ability as a reviewer. This decision
    coincided with my review of the final and is why I set the bar high
    in my article. On reflection, as stated, this article isn’t my best
    and I’m disappointed in my own lack of ability in justifying some of
    my comments and will attempt to rectify this here.

    Whilst I’m
    far from an accomplished critic, I have been to 17 gigs (only
    including when I’ve gone to see a recognised band as opposed to live
    events such as BOTB) since having been to Download Festival last
    year, not to mention having been to many previous to this. I like to
    think that this consistent experience of music at the highest level
    across a wide range of genres, hip-hop, indie, rock and metal
    inclusive, has helped me develop a good ear for live music. Perhaps
    it is even this consistently impressive level of music that has led
    me having great expectations for live music.

  • Will Britton-Minney


    …success had to do with that work rather than a fanciful insinuation of being in with the judges, none of whom I had even met before we performed.

    3) Crowd opinion – Unfortunately I feel that you have committed a journalistic error here in passing off your opinion as fact. Talk to any audience member, bandsoc-affiliated or otherwise, and I feel strongly that they will give you in general a very different account of the night to the one which you have presented.

    I do hope that you continue your coverage of the event in future, but next time I would advise that you arrive with a more comprehensive knowledge of the society so as to avoid backlash of this nature in the future. Again, please don’t take this as a personal slight so much as the myth-debunking that it actually is.


  • Will Britton-Minney


    If I may, I’d like to address each of the three points I’ve mentioned at greater length:

    1) Implication that the President had a hand in his band’s victory – As Fraser points out, this conjecture is highly prejudicial to the hard-earned reputation of Bandsoc as a society that prides itself on inclusion of everyone and places an absolute zero-tolerance policy on nepotism, underhandedness and favouritism within the exec. Moreover, it is completely untrue: as an exec member, I can wholly susbtantiate the fact that Simon has been an excellent, but more importantly unbiased, president throughout my entire tenure. The cast-iron reality is that Cloud Fleet worked hard throughout the competition and were the best band on the night.

    2) Implication that FTP’s third place finish had to do with an exec member, namely myself, being in their ranks – Quite apart from the fact that there is considerable potential for my own reputation to be damaged by this, it is also inaccurate. I am proud to say that I worked exceptionally hard in my band and that our

  • Will Britton-Minney

    Hi Miles,

    Initially I didn’t want to comment but I find it increasingly difficult to bite my tongue on this article. I want to make it clear before I start that my comments below are in no way an ad hominem attack on you but rather on what I deem in this particular instance to be a poor piece of journalism riddled with a series of unfortunate (and sometimes needlessly hurtful) misunderstandings.

    On the one hand, you have covered the night in its totality and obviously made an honest go of relaying the atmosphere to those who weren’t able to make it, a fact for which your article deserves credit.

    Nevertheless, those involved in BandSoc will certainly corroborate my claim that virtually none of what you say with regard to the victory of Cloud Fleet, the third-place finish of Funk the Po-Lice and the general crowd consensus on band performances on the evening is accurate.

  • Fraser Bernstein

    Absolute farce of an article. Never been more embarrassed to read a piece of music journalism, or any journalism for that matter. You have damaged the reputation of Bandsoc by insinuating that the president may have swayed the judges into voting for his band, which is utter nonsense. As the keyboard player for Funk the Police, I’d like to say thanks for the shout-out, but you can shove it up your ignorant, musically abhorrent backside.

  • Daniel Indiana

    What Adam has said is all 100% correct. As an ex president of this society, I can 100% confirm that there is never any underhand dealings and the main focus of any bandsoc exec member is to put on an awesome and fun competition, not to worry about how they do in it (though naturally its nice to do well if you put the hard work in!).

    Your comments suggesting that Cloudfleet won because of the fact that they had the president in their ranks shows two things: You are musically ignorant (both in terms of musicality and in terms of understanding what a quality live performance is) and you are horrendously biased. I understand that you had a personal favourite to win (clearly the Ready Wednesdays) but that should not spill over into a pathetic insult of the other bands. Take a look at Sam Carters review of the final last year – thats how it’s done.

    Adam highlighted the fact that you must have spoken to very few attendees which I can second. With regards Funk the Police and “not in being many peoples top slots” is also a misinformed comment – even the Ready Wednesdays themselves came up to us (I’m in Funk) and thought we should have ranked in the top three (as did their fans).

    At the end of the day, you’ve given your opinion as you should do. You’ve been critical – thats fine also. But you’ve executed your criticism poorly and in many places incorrectly and with horrendous amounts of bias. I suggest that you listen to a bit more music and watch a few more gigs to get a better grasp of the fine (any in many cases, more obvious) details that make a band excel from those that need more work.

  • Adam Thompson

    “Their success could have had something to do with the Bandsoc president being a member”

    “Funk the Po-Lice may have also benefitted from having a Bandsoc exec amongst their ranks”

    As the vocalist in Nakpat, I can categorically say that the above it utter bullshit. Cloudfleet were far and away the best band of the night, and Funk The Police by a long way the most solidly rehearsed and undisputably tightest band of the evening. Your insinuation that the competition was in some way rigged is frankly disgusting, and you clearly have little knowledge of the factors that cause a band to do well in this competition. Your apparent observation that Cloudfleet and Funk The Police were considered as “not in many people’s top slots” is also utter bollocks and I can only assume based on your discussion with a tiny minority of attendees, as in my own experience of talking to a large number of members of the crowd as well as in my personal opinion, those bands were both incredibly deserving of the top spots. Don’t insult the integrity of the competition when you clearly have no knowledge of the judging criteria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.