Battle of the Bands Review – Heat Four, Bowland

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Lemming Along started off the last heat of Beach Break’s Battle of the Bands in a packed-out Bowland bar. With a massive eight bands playing in this last chance for fans to get their favourite band into the final, even England losing to Holland at a game of football couldn’t distract campus music fans. Confidently conversing with the crowd, lead singer Maria Twardowska enthusiastically showed the originality of Lemming Along’s intense and powerful sound. However, it was the band’s brilliantly funny cover of Shania Twain’s ‘Man I Feel Like A Woman’ that gained the best response from the crowd and regardless of the guitarist’s questionable vocals, Lemming Along put on a good show and proved themselves to be highly entertaining.

Illumine were the next band to take to the stage and they immediately started on a high by tackling the frequently covered ‘Feeling Good’, allowing Lead singer Grace Zarczynska to show off the power of her voice. Beginning on a cover seemed to win the band a lot of fans, as did their later take on Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’. Although the band seemed to be lacking the emotional depth often needed to sing country music, they proved themselves as a strong and diverse group of musicians. Illumine’s original material also kept the crowd hooked, although some of that may have been down to the hypnotising sight of Grace’s hair whipping back and forth as she jumped around.

Following the trend of earlier heats, acoustic artist Jake Parker Bishop began his set with an Ed Sheeran number; ‘You Need Me I Don’t Need You’. Although this was a popular song choice among the crowd members that were listening to him, Jake struggled to keep the attention of many people, which was a real shame. Even though his set relied mostly on covers – a mellow version of ‘Johnny B. Goode’ was a highlight – Jake is a talented musician and singer and didn’t seem to gain the respect he deserved from members of certain other bands.

Also highly reliant on covers were three piece group, Mimic the Mirror. Clearly a happy group of people, this band struggled to portray the emotion of the songs they sang; ‘Many of Horror’, Coldplay’s ever-popular ‘Fix You’ and ‘My Hero’, originally by Foo Fighters. Performing with three voices, an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar meant this band didn’t sound quite right. Either adding the sounds of a bass guitar and a drummer or turning themselves into a fully acoustic band would have benefitted them more as a group.

Next up was Mashup, a group who did as their name suggests and performed mash-ups of popular songs. Reliant upon having to read their lyrics, Mashup spent large portion of their set swapping places as each member took to lead vocals for different songs, none of whom were particularly strong singers. Mashup’s originality came from one member’s beat-boxing ability, which went down a storm with the audience.

Ready for a change of pace, Bowland bar welcomed Jay Nudd with open arms. His Jack Johnson style and original material helped Jay to stand out on the night. Although he could have benefitted from one popular cover to win over some of the audience members, the acoustic artist had a fantastic vocal range and some impressive song writing that kept many people hooked.

Causing a drastic change in atmosphere, Innamorata stepped up as the penultimate act to show themselves as the first true competition from this heat. Stephanie Beer’s strong lead vocals and charisma on stage got the crowd on their feet for the first time that evening. As a recent feature in SCAN, Innamorata proved themselves to be one of the best campus bands. Both their imaginative song writing and excellent musical ability helped the group to shine on the night and win over many new fans, and their cover of The Who’s ‘My Generation’ ended their set on a high and cemented their win before the heat was even over.

Finishing the night was Dead Ferret, who also seemed popular amongst the crowd. Despite suffering a broken guitar string the band carried on to perform a mix of their own material and several covers. Possibly due to a lack of confidence from their technical glitch, Dead Ferret seemed to struggle as their set progressed. Their choice to finish on a rocked up version of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ was a questionable choice and I left feeling slightly violated.

After a long night of diverse performances, choosing a winner was an easy one as Innamorata seemed the only band capable of taking on the likes of Soulrigg in their current form. However, Illumine won one of the wildcard spots, along with Yellow Bird from the first heat in Week Four, and if they up their game the final looks to be a night of strong competition.

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