Battle of the Bands: Final Heat review

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Finalists swept away by Lake Komo

 

Against the backdrop of the controversial decision to “teach out” the Music degree by the University, the final heat of the Battle of the Bands celebrated the vivacity and joyful optimism of Lancaster’s finest musical talent.

The final heat saw finalists from the previous four heats Yellowbird, Grandad’s Abyss, Sunset Boulevard and Lake Komo, joined by the popular wildcard winners Ziggy and the Actors.

Grandad’s Abyss opened the night with Griffith Jones, one of the two guitarists, displaying particularly eye-catching talent alongside fellow guitarist Harry Sinclair. However the three-piece set lacked cohesion after their lead vocalist, Eliot Rice, pulled out with illness and was hastily replaced by Liz Bailes a matter of minutes before the heat. Bailes was a capable singer but lack of practice was evident as she seemed to struggle to engage the audience. An ultimately admirable and enjoyable performance that was sadly marred by illness saw Grandad’s Abyss unlikely to compete for any accolades, but there was certainly no disputing the talent of the act.

The next act on was Yellowbird, featuring campus music stalwarts Matt Hayes and Jack Fleming.  Hayes, a capable guitarist and phenomenal vocalist, immediately captivated the audience with anthemic self-written songs such as “Gently Down”. The well established campus duo injected energy and esprit into the crowd, who clearly enjoyed their talent.

The third act was Fylde heat winners Sunset Boulevard. The pairing of Andy Wood and Callum Billings brought a different dimension to the final heat with their energetic and rhythmic songs. The pair’s cheerful spirit shone effortlessly through the music they played and they were well received by the crowd who appeared to enjoy the relaxed ambiance.

The fourth act and billed before the final heat as the favourites for the title of Battle of the Bands 2013 were four piece Lake Komo. Their first song, a cover of King of Spain, was an instant hit that captivated the crowd. Indeed, the crowd seemed almost in awe at just how talented Lake Komo were. The band centred around the outstanding Jay Nudd, a Pendle Live and campus music favourite. His astonishing vocal range, poise and general musical prowess shone through and as their final song, a cover of Skinny Love, finished; they were greeted by a standing ovation.

The final band, Ziggy and the Actors, had a hard act to follow but performed admirably. Singer Luke Leahey was impressive, as was the band’s choice of songs. Performing a range of covers from Bastille’s ‘Flaws’ and Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, Ziggy and the Actors certainly knew how to please the crowd. They too were greeted by a rapturous applause, and the decision to determine the winners of the Final proved difficult for the panel.

Although all of the finalists performed well and held a captivated crowd that filled Baker House Farm in Cartmel; the judges unanimously decided that Lake Komo were the best act on the night. In second place came Yellowbird who were clearly delighted, and the wildcard of Ziggy and the Actors came a respectable third and should have cause to be pleased as they had shown a marked improvement from the Fylde heat in which they were beaten by Sunset Boulevard. The Final was closed by Lake Komo performing an encore of King of Spain and were again greeted by a standing ovation. The judges and the crowd, it seems, clearly recognised the act as the winners of this year’s Battle of the Bands. Lake Komo were visibly delighted to be headlining Campus Fest, which will take place on Saturday of week 9.

 

 

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