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.