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On Thursday 22nd April, The Park pub in Lancaster played host to Livewire Lancaster’s “Battle of the Bands 2010”. The competition was a chance for bands, hand-picked by Atticus Clothing, to compete against one another for the opportunity to play in the Atticus Tour 2010.
There were six bands competing, Fate Fell Short, Your Last Drive, A48, The Shipman Project, Arcane Eclipse and lastly Make Me King. The event was the latest in the series of gigs organized by James Brockbank and Livewire Lancaster, who looks to be the savior of Lancaster’s alternative music scene.
Fate Fell Short played a fairly solid set and despite some problems with the sound and the fear of having to go on first they gave a tenacious and exciting display of talent. Your Last Drive came on stage ready to rock the crowd, opening with a cover of Electric Six’s ‘Gaybar’ and playing many catchy songs that got the crowd dancing. Next up were A48, full of pop-punk enthusiasm, producing an infectiously energetic performance, which explained the huge show of support from their army of a fan base. The band managed to get plenty of audience members participating with singing along to their songs and jumping up and down in the mosh-pit. Following A48 was The Shipman Project, another local Lancaster band, self-described as “hard-hitting, fun-loving purveyors of period metal”. Their humor, often rather blue and probably lost on the younger crowd, was still effective with stage gags like throwing sanitary towels out to the audience and in their own words, “promoting female hygiene”. Their songs were amusing and the music seemed more developed, with a heavier industrial tone as opposed to the other acts youthful pop punk styles. However, the contrast in musical genres only added to the eclectic nature of the night, bringing together musicians and music lovers of all ages and styles together. I caught up with The Shipman Project after they’d played to ask them what they thought of Livewire Lancaster and local events, to which they responded, “the local scene is so much better for that, it’s really helped. It’s also good that younger kids can listen to decent music”. Following in the wake of The Shipman Project was Arcane Eclipse, who seemed a little darker than some of the previous bands, but in a good way, they chucked out some great guitar solos including the Godfather Theme and were a very quick-paced band who received a great audience reaction. Bringing the night to a close was Make Me King, who many of the other musicians said to be honoured to play alongside.
The winners of the evening’s battle were A48, and I’d caught up with Leroy and Daren from the band earlier on in the evening before their performance. When asked why they thought they deserved to win, their response was quite simply, “because we’re the best!” and for that night who could argue with them. I also asked what set them apart from other bands and who their influences were, “we’re a fun band, we’re not scared of playing synth-pop tunes like Busted! Or having a bit of fun on stage, some of our influences are Busted, Greenday and Fightstar.”
At the end of the night I couldn’t help but think how brilliant the evening had been and what a fantastic chance for younger musicians this evening’s event was. I hope that we see many more of them in the future. The Atticus Tour 2010 will be arriving at the Park Hotel on Thursday 7th May where the winners A48 will play alongside Ten Second Epic, Blitz Kids and Cars on Fire. Livewire Lancaster also have some other exciting gigs coming up, including Me vs. Hero on 25th June, The Smoking Hearts on 23rd July and another appearances from The Shipman Project in July.