Battle Of The Bands: Heat 2

by Helen Payne

Lemon Grove

A tough heat, but only two can go through to the next round. Helen Payne reviews Heat 2 of BOTB.

This Tuesday saw the second heat of Battle Of The Bands. We crowded around the stage in the Lemon Grove to watch the first band, Hyperion, who, after initially shaky vocals, fell into a catchy and light hearted, if a little predictable, folky sounding song. We were given introductions to the members of various nationalities, then heard their next few songs, Oh My, My, My and Auckland; both of which were very listenable and great for foot tapping. However, the same old rhythms tended to get a bit tedious, so a more syncopated sound towards the end of their set made it much more enjoyable. The whole of Hyperion’s performance was accompanied by fans shouting wildly for Lucas, the evidently popular lead guitarist.

The second band of the night was Joker’s Gamble, who appeared with playing cards painted on their faces, and wearing red and black suits and dresses. Their set started slowly, with quiet vocals, an acoustic guitar, and synths that built up to unimaginative chord sequences and predictable rhythms. The singing could have been tighter, as the vocal jumps were perhaps a bit of a stretch. Their last song, Bitch (which can be found on YouTube), picked up the pace somewhat, and gained the crowd’s lost attention back. For me unfortunately, their performance was still too uninventive for my liking.

Next on the line-up was Local Tourists, a four-piece all male band with some enjoyable tracks and a bit more depth to their songs than the previous acts. After some vague drumstick issues we watched a tight performance with some faultless riffs, despite the lead singer trying too hard to be a younger (and taller) Alex Turner. They ended their set with a cover of When You Were Young by The Killers, which did everything right and to the letter – which may have been its downfall. In covers, it is nice to see some improvisation or twists to the original to make it their own, however, I feel that Local Tourists failed to do this – resulting in a cover just the same as any other.

Last to perform was the incredibly popular Bloom, whose songs were engaging and very enjoyable. The smooth transitions, different paces, and unusual structures made it a pleasure to watch. Their last song was introduced with a mellow, engrossing tone that was pleasantly listenable. Fluid synths and changing of vocalists made a good build up for a powerful ending. Bloom’s energy was infectious as they jumped around the stage and tapped crazily on guitar pedals; it was evident that they love performing.

The audience had voted and the result was revealed – Bloom and Hyperion made it through to the next round to fight against other finalists in a bid to win the very successful Campus Bands competition.