On Saturday 24th June, music fans from across campus crowded into Barker House Farm to hear Lancaster University’s talented musicians perform and compete in Battle of the Bands 2023.
This year the event was hosted by the hardworking Bailrigg FM and streamed by LA1 TV, who did an absolutely wonderful job. The judges were Jake, Tom, Sky, and Hannah, who scored the musicians out of 10. After an introduction from our cheery hosts, it was straight into the first act:
The White Heat
Image by Maria Hill
Alternative indie rock band The White Heat were a pleasure to hear perform, with two guitarists, a drummer and a singer/guitarists. They all played magnificently together as if they were puzzle pieces slotting together into a magnificent, musical picture.
Super cool, super talented, super fresh. They definitely set the standards high for the night and played their own original songs, ‘Easy Way Out’ and ‘Lemonade’, which were thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.
The judges said that they loved them, and this is what they scored The White Heat: 9, 9, 8, and 8. So overall, The White Heat scored a 34!
The second act was:
Luke doesn’t usually perform solo. In fact, he’s the guitarist for his band, but considering his band mates couldn’t be there, he decided to take up the mantel. He played two original songs, ‘Robust Rosie’ and ‘Pork Pie Hat’.
He did a great job – his talent on the guitar was impressive and his skill as a comedic song writer was showcased as he sung lude songs, interjected by the occasional line about pork pie hats, which brought amusement to the audience which livened up the night.
The judges commented on how it was a shame that the rest of the band couldn’t make it, but still he did a great job on his own. They scored him: 6, 5, 6, and 6. So overall, Volume Dealer scored a 23!
The third band was:
These dudes were cool with a capital C, double O, and L! The hair flipping, the smiles, the stage presence, in the words of our esteemed presenter, “Slay”. They covered Green Day’s ‘Basket Case’, then performed an original song called ‘Don’t Go Back’, which included audience participation.
On vocals was Aison Clark who usually performs solo but, for the sake of the Battle of the Bands, he gathered his musician friends to give a wonderful performance. His singing was very strong, and guitarists were epic. I was particularly impressed by the drummer’s skill.
“I’m not really used to performing alone,” Aison confessed, during a pre-performance interview.
“Back home, I’m used to performing with a band, then I came all the way here so my bandmates are back home, that’s why I started doing solo stuff, and then because of this competition, I started looking for a drummer and a bass”.
Aison also told me that he prepared for weeks previous to the performance, however he’d “only played with them [his current bandmates] last week only”.
In the future, he hopes to start recording and releasing singles and, one day, even an album.
The judges commented on their great stage presence. The judges scored them: 6, 5, 4, and 6. Overall, AisoNic scored a 21!
The fourth performance was by:
Much deserving of his second-place title, Robert Bradley wowed the audience with his emotive yet powerful singing voice. His set was delightful and very soothing on the ears after the previous drum-and-bass music.
He did a beautiful cover of Brockhampton’s ‘Waste’ and then performed an original song called ‘Florida’. he judges said he was a “gentle singer” who had great range, and they also loved his guitar playing skills.
They scored him: 7, 7, 7, and 6. Overall, Robert Bradley scored a 27!
The fifth band to perform were:
Wow wow wow! I think I speak for everyone in the audience when saying I had so much fun watching this one. Raven’s Heart is comprised of three guitarists, an epic drummer, and a lead singer who has a bucketload of personality (and awesome fashion sense). The music was loud, cool, and everything a rock band should be, once again with an epic guitar solo.
Raven’s Heart won the title of third place, their popularity with the audience amping up their overall score. They played two original songs, ‘Faith’ and ‘Live Fast, Live Forever’.
After their win, they took turns answering several questions I presented them with, which I have written in a transcript due to its length:
How do you feel tonight’s performance went?
“We were very happy with our performance, very energetic, we felt like we brought a lot of angst to the stage as well as we think we did a really good performance and we’re really happy with how the others went. We look forward to EXTRAVs”.
Were you nervous about performing?
The bassist answered: “Being the bass, you can’t really hear it in the mix anyway, but yeah I was nervous. I think we all were. It’s quite a big thing but, once you get going, it’s quite good. You kinda chill out and get in the zone and it goes really nicely”.
What are your future plans and aspirations?
“We’re in the process of making an album. We’ve got a good chunk of it recorded it’s just finishing it off now. But yeah, we just got a new single out as well, we’re finding every opportunity to promote it so go listen to PRD on Spotify and apple music and YouTube and everything”.
What would you tell anybody who wanted to but was too nervous to perform tonight?
“Don’t be. Playing gives you a sense of adrenaline, a sense of feeling that you can’t get anywhere else and all the nerves that you have, once you start playing they just disappear. You just have to take every opportunity that you have and just perform as much as you can because it’s so much fun and it gives you such a good thrill that you can’t get anywhere else”.
What’s your favourite thing about performing?
“You can act larger than life,” the main singer replied. “You can put on outfits as ridiculous as these and jump around like you’ve got hot potatoes in your shoes for five minutes, you know? So it’s just a chance to let loose, be fast, loud, just be yourself without any judgement. It’s amazing fun and I love it to bits”.
The panel said that they were “very defined” as musicians, which the audience definitely agreed with. The judges scored them: 5, 6, 7, and 7. Overall, Raven’s Heart scored a 25!
The sixth act to make their way onto the stage was:
Ben has a voice raw with emotion which is incredibly moving. He first performed a cover of Radiohead’s ‘Fake Plastic Trees’, and then went up against some tricky high notes by choosing to cover Oasis’ ‘Live Forever’, he did well and brought a softness after the tinnitus-including rock bands.
Ben is not only an amazing singer and guitar player, but is also an actor and an extremely talented piano player as he starred in the award-winning student short film ‘Platform’, having written the music for it also.
The judges states that they thoroughly enjoyed his performance and scored him: 7, 7, 7, and 7. Overall, Ben Branton scored a 28!
The seventh band to enter the stage was:
This event was DƎRT first live performance, which was a hit with the audience. After speaking with the band, their aim was to “just have some fun”. From their amazing vocals, and amazing balance of instruments, it was clear that DƎRT was rocking it on stage, and it was a wonderful performance! They did two covers, Metallica’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ and Three Day Grace’s ‘Animal I Have Become’.
The lead singer of DƎRT, Ryan, said that the band only formed six months ago on a drunk night out. With how electrifying their performance was, I don’t think anyone could tell. Ryan later said that they are mostly doing covers right now, however there are plans to make original songs soon as “it’s in the works”.
The judges commented on how well their instruments were balanced, but wished they played up to the dramatics more, which I have no doubt that DƎRT will do in their future performances.
The judges scored them: 7, 8, 7, and 7. Overall, DƎRT scored a 29!
Last but certainly not least was:
I’m absolutely obsessed with The Directors. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one: they one first place with both the judges’ and audience’s votes. I don’t think I’ve ever had the chance to experience such an original band. Absolutely STUNNING singing, cool guitar, trumpet, and beatboxing. On paper, this is a strange mix, but this concoction of instruments is not only fun but extremely pleasing to listen to.
Alongside this, the energy that each member brought to the table was on point. They performed two covers, Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’ and Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ which charmed the audience and gave them first place. After they won, they performed Silk Sonic’s ‘Anderson Paak’ and Bruno Mars’ ‘Smokin Out the Window’. The only question I have now is, when’s the ep coming out?
When asked about their win, Roshan Adve, the band’s extremely talented beatboxer, stated:
“It was just fun. This is going to sound like an absolute cliché but we didn’t come in here to win but we’re just really happy we did. Last year we came second, this year we joined again with some different band members, and yeah we just had a really good time rehearsing as well so 10/10 experience”.
Before their winning performance, Roshan confessed to me that they didn’t have much rehearsal time, making their win all the more impressive.
“We were all quite busy and it was hard to find time, so we rehearsed pretty intensively for about a week”.
Upon being asked what the future of their band looks like, Roshan replied:
“So it’s interesting because we’re not a band who are particularly looking to go anywhere in the future, we’re just enjoying our time at uni while we know each other and we can get together and play some music, perform at competitions like this. We’re mainly for fun. So not too intense looking forward”.
The judges scored them: 8, 8, 9 and 7. Overall, The Directors scored a 32, and alongside getting the audience’s vote, that’s a solid win!
Overall, Battle of the Bands showcased the range of talent that Lancaster University has to offer, and every performer did extremely well. Well done everyone!
Check out Google Drive to access the photos from the event. All rights to the photos belong to Maria Hill and she must be credited if the photos are used for promotional purposes.