DUN DUN DUN!!!! 16 bands/soloists entered, four remain. The battle has become too large for the bar and moves upstairs. Well that’s a bit of a lie, this whole thing was to open the upstairs bit. To the losers, shame. To the victors, crushed enemies driven before them and hearing the lamentations of their women. And 3 days of recording at Strathsounds.
Also, no shame for the losers. Or the people who didn’t make the final. Nice work by all (I’m assuming for heat 4 as I couldnae go).
So our final four warrior tribes aka bands. For three of them I’ll just nick what I said in the review. For the fourth, the preview. I’m a lazy man.
The Ragazzi: “Whether it was down to them or just coincidence the crowd really picked up numbers wise during the set. I know for sure the enthusiasm level WAS down to them though. A loud funky band with a sound that’s a mix of ska style licks and indie style vocals they had everyone taping and bopping along. Myself included. They won’t be playing any kids parties any time soon, the work fuck was used a number of times *shocked look*, but if they popped up on an indie romance soundtrack (love being a theme in the lyrics) it would be no shock. They’re well polished and if they play things right they could go quite far. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear them on 6 music in coming years, and thanks Barry’s girlfriend (sorry, crap with names (PRESENT DAVE: IT’S KATHRYN PAST DAVE) for helping my brain to click that it was The Kooks I thought they sounded like. They are definitely one to catch if you have the chance, and soon.”
76 Knots: “Who were my favourites to win going in to the thing. That was up in the air after Lionel though. Musically I’d say they are superior. They’re a tighter band, damned fine drummer and great guitar. The bass is a heavy element of their sound and luckily they have possibly the second best bassist in Inverness to carry that weight. The weakness though is in the singing. Like I’ve said I’m crap at taking track names down but the second one they played NAILED where the singing should probably be. They have a punk vibe about them and produce a good wall of noise. When the singer is really going for it and throwing some passion in he’s great. The rest of the time…not so much really. It’s a common issue with rock bands though, not too hot on the vocal range. I think people take it a bit for granted that the singing bit is the easy one when it isn’t really. So if I was in charge, which I sure as hell am not, I would push the vocals in the more punky direction. But it was a solid set, they sound musically pretty awesome, and they had the crowd behind them.”
Thousand Stars: Who I didn’t catch but have heard before and enjoyed. Preview said “Rock band, US influences, bit of a mid to late 90′s sound about them, girl on vocals which is a bit of a stand out from most rock bands in these here parts. First time I heard them, and it still stands now, I said they would fit quite well on a college age drama soundtrack. That should give you an idea of the sound, but so should the tracks on that profile I linked there.”
And finally, Lionel: WAIT, but they didn’t win a heat! Well the thing is that heat 2 winner Emma Mitchell is off on holiday when the final is on. Runner up Dougie Burns is otherwise engaged as well. The next bands, Roads to Damascus and All Hat No Cat, were tied (as were Emma and Dougie initially). So the organisers went with the most popular runner up band. These guys tied with The Ragazzi during their heat in the inital vote, and scored very high on the clapometer. Totally get the logic, no controversy at all really. Anyway this is what I said about Lionel “It’s pronounced Lee-oh-Nell apparently. Not in my head it isn’t but it’s their band. And apparently this was their first gig! Couldn’t tell at all. They’re an alternative rock band, because I’m lazy I’d say they sound like The Ragazzi without the ska element. Which is admittedly a big part of their act. They’d fit on the same bill very well but Lionel aren’t quite as tight. Like I said though, first gig and that. The main comparison is singer wise as they’re similar to each other. Less of a north of England vibe and way more of a California vibe to them, they have some nice bass and great guitar hooks. I’m bad for not making note of song names but the track Teenage Tragedy, I believe, highlights that Cali rock vibe and is a heck of a tune. In my notes I’ve referred to them as half way rock. They aren’t mellow, they aren’t super loud rocky stuff, they’re solidly in the middle of that. I, and the crowd, enjoyed the hell out of them and I’m really looking forward to hearing them again some time soon.”
Slightly controversially, though not really, the bands will be judging each other! So each band will give each OTHER band a score for music, stage presence, look, originality and crowd reaction. The event page says lowest score wins….bit confusing. Maybe it’s like golf. Thankfully I won’t be doing any scoring. If there’s a tie then the meter of clapos will come in to play. And at the end one band will have some more work ahead, and the other three will just have had a really good gig. Last one, birth of a new venue, ^they are all ace, see you there aye?
Oh, I was going to include Ade’s pics BUT there isn’t one for Thousand Stars so that wouldn’t be fair. He’ll be at the final though so that’ll be fixed soon enough.