Will Preston

Tag: The Wedgewood Rooms Showcase 2011

Wedgewood Rooms Showcase 2011 Heat 10

by on Sep.01, 2011, under Gigs, Music, Review

Well it’s the final heat. Around 50 bands have tried their luck. Only a few have entered into the next stage. What happens to the rest? If they aren’t picked up as potential talent, they’re discarded like Paul Di Anno from Iron Maiden. Tonight’s heat was a weird mash from bog standard indie to avante garde mayhem.

Feuds

Not my favourite. As soon as the generic indie started, I knew I wasn’t going to dig this band. It wasn’t just the fact that the songs offered anything original; it just felt rough, unplanned and unfinished. The guitars were out of tune on the bits that counted and the singer was very hard to hear. As a set, it just went on and on with no hope of improvement. Even the band looked as if they felt the same as I did. If there was ever a soundtrack to purgatory, it would be Feuds playing on a loop for eternity.

CCAP

Fools and Scissors

The only time I’ve ever run full pelt to the front to see an unknown band was for CCAP. It wasn’t just the musical style that turned my head, it was the stage set up. How many bands have you seen lately where the lead guitarist uses a bow on a guitar that is attached to a workbench? How many bands have you seen play one long improvised wall of madness as their entire set? Needless to say, these guys were a bit of a niche act, but they were extremely talented. The drummer must have been jazz trained. At one point, the keyboardist started pouring water into a bucket whilst playing. Don’t ask me why he did this, I have no clue. CCAP are the most original and entertaining act I’ve seen in the last five years. There is no mystery why these guys won.

Fools and Scissors

These were another extremely young band, but with talent and a good direction. Fools and Scissors started with some floor shaking synth before bouncing into a bout of indie dance nonsense. The first song really held my attention, but the rest of the set was mostly hit and miss. The vocalist felt a bit inexperienced in places, but at some points, you could tell he is going to improve a lot. One thing that I found a little odd was the guitarist. At various points throughout their set, he was launch into some Van Halen-esque guitar tapping. Imagine The Automatic suddenly covering Hot For Teacher mid-song as that’s pretty much what happened. Fools and Scissors are an enjoyable new band who show a lot of promise.

The Rapids

Music To Drive Tanks To

Bursting on stage with a barrage of ear crippling riff hungry rock, I thought these guys would win by the crowd vote alone. Well tuned, well timed and tight enough to pierce a bullet proof vest. To compare sounds, it was like hearing early Offspring for the first time in ages. Not only was it fast and frantic, these guys decided to pull out some perfect vocal harmonies to ensure they had our undivided attention. I would bet my right buttock that these guys have been going for a couple of years at least. The Rapids play like they’re named and are an exciting band to watch live.

Music To Drive Tanks To

Clearly the oldest lot here, but they showed a lot of experience. Imagine if Kraftwerk and Massive Attack had a baby and made it conform slightly to mainstream music (try as hard as you can to imagine that!). That is pretty much what the result was with Music To Drive Tanks To. They were a very efficient three-piece with the drummer using an electronic drum kit about the size of a toddler. I have to say I really got into them. The only thing that let them down was the mid song banter which made them seem less cool than they set themselves up to be. I think the cold shoulder treatment could work a lot for these guys.

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Wedgewood Rooms Showcase 2011 Heat 7

by on Aug.22, 2011, under Gigs, Music, Review

Possibly one of the sunniest Sundays of the year. I came to the gig tonight with a glowing red face because I forgot to put on sun tan lotion, as usual. Lack of preparation was a theme for one of tonight’s bands, so I didn’t feel like I was completely alone. The results were very close and the crowd was very large throughout the rest of the night. It felt like it was the final, to be frank.

Join the Rising

Well, for the first band on, they didn’t sound too bad. Not that it was their sound they were playing. Think U2 covering The Cult in a shamelessly upbeat cookie cutter package that thinks it’s far more exciting than it actually is. Granted, the lead singer had a bit of confidence, talent and energy, but his demeanour was less of a rock star and more of a children’s entertainer trying too hard to appeal to the preteen demographic. This was made worse by too much talking in between songs. I’m all for the mid song chin wag, but half a minute later, I’m almost running up to the stage to shout into his ear to start playing; the irony of this being that I didn’t really like their music in the first place. It was pleasant and upbeat, but unoriginal yet dull at the same time. We’ll have to wait until Bono asks for their sound back before Join the Rising could look at going any further.

Citizen Unknown

Dead Man's Dance

These were most regular looking band of the evening. I would say they were regular sounding too, but that would be cruel. Living up to their name, the band entered the stage as quietly as possible in a doomed effort to not be seen. After more than enough second of awkward staring, they kicked in with some formulaic punky rock that was too pop to be punk, but too punk to be pop. From the back, the lead singer looked like a bizarre cross between Charlie Brooker and a darts player. The banter was a bit on the bizarre side; when introducing themselves, the lead singer claimed that the band was from Portsmouth, despite saying this in the most northern accent you can afford. Then he started giving an itinerary of what he plans to do later. I was bewildered, you can be sure of that. Citizen Unknown spent the rest of the set playing some rather samey numbers that started off well, but sounded like the last song they just played. Not the most enjoyable band of the evening, but not the least enjoyable band….

Dead Man’s Dance

These were the least enjoyable band of the evening. The compere didn’t even get a chance to introduce them before they snuck onto the stage and started playing. After roughly half a minute of sloppy by-the-numbers indie rubbish, they pulled the brakes and stalled the entire set due to the drummer snapping his only pair of sticks. No, seriously; that was the reason. I would have used that window to exit the stage in shame, but oh no, it carried on after the most cringing minute all week. There was nothing to rescue here at all. It was like I had just repaired a car made out of cardboard in order to drive to my own execution. Dead Man’s Dance could act as a stark warning to other would be bands about preparation, composition and how to avoid burying your chances at ever playing a gig again. Dead Man’s Dance?! Dead Man Walking, more like.

Guerilla Gorillia

The Founders Of

After seeing that shambles before them, these guys seemed like they would have won the evening. In terms of instrumentation, there was nothing really wrong apart from the lead guitarist suddenly sounding like he was in a different band, but this didn’t happen enough to collapse the set. There was also a cheeky bit of dual guitar harmonisation. The band must have seen my Thin Lizzy t shirt and wanted to impress me on the fly. There were other moments like this where they wanted to show off their talent, but it often felt out of place in their songs. Still, they sounded alright. The problem is that these guys are all very talented technically, but they need to make more catchy songs before they could get a lot more gigs in. The minute that Guerilla Gorilla pen a few hooky numbers, we’ll have a band worthy of regular support, and maybe even a headline gig in a few years.

The Founders Of

This is the third time I’ve seen these guys and they have improved a lot. Still not my bag, but very tight and energetic. They had that poppy ska sound that doesn’t use trumpets, with moments of Radio 1 rock slid in to please the average punter. And it worked; the crowd got going and were shouting for an encore by the end of the set. It was pretty obvious that most of the people there were TFO fans, and it wasn’t just the phalanx of TFO t shirts that gave this away. The only thing that lets them down is that no song really stands out from the set. This didn’t stop them from winning the evening, however.

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Wedgewood Rooms Showcase 2011 Heat 6

by on Aug.18, 2011, under Gigs, Music, Review

Mid week is a brave time to host a local gig. As well as it being close to the end of the month where money supplies are low, most people have work in the morning or kids to look after. At the beginning of this showcase night, it felt like the entire crowd could fit into a crumbling outhouse. But thankfully, a barrage of hooting punters poured in after the first band. Bit unfair on the first guys on, but then again, efficient self promotion is the bread and butter of breaking through.

Jaqunion

Possibly one of the hardest band names I’ve ever had to write down or pronounce. What does it mean anyway? Thankfully, the band were ultra quiet at the start of their set to allow me to ponder this name even more. That was their first problem; lack of banter and stage presence. I don’t want to lay into them for this, but it was cringingly awkward at times, like the lead singer had been unexpectedly teleported from his bathroom and was still getting used to the fact he was in a band. But that aside, he had a very good singing voice. It was possibly the best feature of the band. As a group they played very well, but the songs were a little mild. Kind of a like a pop indie song you play to lift you up from a bad mood. Some of their material kept me interested, despite being a bit poppy for my liking. Jaqunion are one to keep an eye on.

Cavern Club

Kizmit

Now this had to be the youngest looking band of the entire night. It would have had to have been their first gig judging by how they played and how much they got the crowd going – which was not very well, I’m afraid. Not only did they feel rather sloppy in places, the songs just failed to get me going. They felt half finished and you could see the parts that they forgot to paint over. It was almost like they were so eager to get a gig that they didn’t give themselves more time to sort themselves out. They wanted to sound like an indie band that uses a lot of weird syncopated beats, but came across as a trio of kids who were trying to run before they could walk. Maybe they should give themselves a few months before they hit the stage again.

The Harrassments

It was pretty evident from just before their set that this group of swaggering Arctic Monkey wannabe’s sold the most tickets for the evening. They were the most boisterous following I’ve ever seen at a showcase gig, and I saw a group of kids moshpitting to a Rage Against The Machine tribute act last year. The Harrassments played like they were on their 6th gig of the month. They had the confidence and the skill to make the crowd louder than they already were. Swagger would be the right term to use when describing the stage presence. They had the banter, they had the fans and they could write a good tune. The reason why this well played group didn’t win the competition? They were essentially an Arctic Monkey’s tribute band. Right down from the fast drum playing to the same chords used by the Radio 1 baiting indie plank spankers. These guys will go far as long as Arctic Monkeys stay in the charts.

Nomura

Nomura

I love it when a band has my attention from the start without acting like a gaggle of gits. Nomura calmly came on stage and exploded in a ball of crunchy rock. At first, I thought we had another tribute act on the go, but they started moving to an early 90’s sound. There were flecks of Led Zeppelin and Smash-era Offspring that almost turned them into an imitation, but they had a fresh take on it that set them apart from everyone else that evening. They were, by far, my favourite act of the evening and I cheered a little too loudly when they won. Nothing let them down during their set. They were very close to perfection. Stop what you’re doing right now and check them out.

Kizmit

Finished checking out Nomura? Good! Anyway, the last act of the evening fitted in with everyone else. Kizmit have been going for a while and they’re still playing as strong as ever. There sound is a bit too poppy for my liking, but it still had a good sound to it. After a while, the songs began to get a bit samey and I pretty much lost interest. There wasn’t much to look at on stage as it was just a crowd of well dressed guys standing still. Whether this was due to lack of space or lack of confidence, I couldn’t tell you. Kizmit are a well meaning band, but I think their sound is starting to show some serious crow feet.

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Wedgewood Rooms Showcase 2011 Heat 2

by on Aug.01, 2011, under Gigs, Music, Review

I got the call on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Some bands needed judging with a glaring eye and I had two of those. Glaring eyes that is. I put on my sexiest shirt and made my way down to the Wedgewood Rooms to sort out which band deserved to get into the next round of this grand fight to the death. To spoil the ending for everyone, this is the hardest heat I’ve ever judged. Out of the five bands, three of them deserved to get through to the next stage. The other two? Well, I’ll save that part of the story when I reach it. Or remember it. It’s already a hazy night. Onto the first band.

Observing The Ghost

Advertised as some kind of Radiohead-esque Placebo thingy, this was a very young band. Some of their sound came off very well, but they’re a young band. Looking at them on stage, the sense of mild awkwardness waved at your face like a large dangling trout. It didn’t affect the music too much, but it would appear that the vocalists didn’t do their warm up session for their voices before hand, so a lot of their warbling came out a tad flat. Shame. There seemed to be something alright going on here, even if it was rather dull. What started off as promising songs just didn’t go anywhere. It was like they found the first groove they could find and just stick with it for the next four minutes. Nice first attempt, but no biscuit!

Waking Charred

This was quoted as the band I should be listening to. And it was. It was post rock instrumental nonsense; the kind of nonsense I love. Have we found a winner? Well, not in this case, but will look into seeing them a lot more. One massive turd nearly block up their set in the form of a technical issue on the first song. The most infuriating part was that I knew they had a good sound, but it was being spoiled. But chuck a band in the deep end and sometimes they’ll come up swimming. Or drown horribly. Waking Charred torpedoed back with some fantastic post rock. Even if their sound was a bit mainstream for the genre, I would use this to break someone’s post rock hymen, if you will.

The Fall Of Arcadia

I’m sorry, but I burst out loud with girlish laughter when this hulking metal behemoth screamed onto stage. Was it the fact that it was a vast contrast in tone to the last two bands? Was it the fact that they were so heavy it was border lining on sharp parody? Or maybe it was the lead singer’s metal “Oinking” vocals that caused me to suddenly crack up under pressure. All this aside, they were a superb thrash act. By the time they were halfway through their set, it was clear that the previous two bands wouldn’t be winning. How can music from the Isle of Wight be that good?! Am I missing out on something by having the good luck to live on the mainland? In case you haven’t noticed, this band has been making me ask a lot of questions, which can only be a good sign. Tight as Christian’s anus and just as unforgiving.

We Are Traitors

And yet another band who pretty much wiped the floor over the previous few. Not that the last guys were bad, but as I said: There were too many good bands in this heat tonight. Just like the last band, my head turned instantly. I could have been facing the other way and I would have turned my head so much that I would have ended up with permanent damage. Their sound was like an extremely heavy metal brick, but with some of the catchiest riffs I’ve heard all week (and it’s been a pretty riff-tacular week). Visually, every member of the band was showing the energy needed for this level of metal. And they didn’t look half bad either, speaking as a heterosexual male. It’s no surprise that they came out as the winners. Heavy, riffy and sexy.

Filthy Ramirez

Put your shirt on. Put your shirt on. Put your shirt on now! PUT YOUR SHIRT ON! PUT YOUR SHIRT ON!!! FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!! PUT YOUR FUCKING SHIRT ON YOU FUCKING GINGER FUCK!!! I could stop the review there and I would have pretty much summed up the entire set of this awful band. The first song was just a dull instrumental played by some long haired pre-teen hairdo’s before some shirtless, pigeon-chested, faux-angry ginger twat bag ponced on stage and started ruining music. Forever. The rest of the set was the same god-fucking-awful song played over and over again until, to relieve monotony, the lead singer tried to start a fight with “those cunts at the back”, who just happened to be me and two other people judging the competition. I really hope they came to some physical harm after the night was over.

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