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Review – Battle of the Bands Heat #2

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Helen Payne swung by the Lemon Grove on Tuesday to catch the second heat of Battle of the Bands.

 

               The Lemon Grove was filling up on Tuesday in anticipation to watch the 4 bands competing in a bid to go forward into the next round of Battle of the Bands. The audience got their voting slips and a drink from the bar, and it was time for the first band to perform, Hyperion.

                Following initially shaky vocals in the first song, we were given introductions to the band, who had come to Exeter from all over the world. The second song, ‘Oh My, My, My’ was fairly joyful and catchy, if a little predictable. Their songs had a folky and familiar feel, making for great foot-tapping and head-bobbing. Their 3rd song ‘Auckland’ was again quite cute and listenable with an appealing bridge between verses, and after the chorus a noteworthy change in rhythm to a more syncopated sound, which made things a little more interesting. Their last song was bit different, with a funkier, minor tone, accompanied by fans in the audience shouting wildly for Lucas, the evidently popular lead guitarist.

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Credits: Joker’s Gamble

                Next on the line-up was Joker’s Gamble, who appeared on stage in formal dress of red and black, with playing card images painted on their faces. Their first song started slowly with just an acoustic guitar and synth, which grew into a louder build up with A LOT of cymbals, and the front-woman singing “it’s tough being in love” a bit flat. Their first few songs were all fairly similar, with vocal jumps unfortunately just a little too far for the singer’s range. There seemed to be a lot of talking and not much attention paid by the crowd until Joker’s Gamble finally got going with their stomping last song, which yet again needed more imaginative chord sequences and less predictable rhythms.

                Third on the bill was Local Tourists, an all-male band whose singer seemed to be trying too hard to sound like an early Alex Turner at first (but at least he was in tune). Their songs were enjoyable, and after some stick issues from the drummer they delivered some great new music as a much tighter performance than the previous two bands we’d just watched. The guitarist was very talented, we heard some faultless riffs and seamless transitions. Local Tourists ended their set with their rendition of the widely covered When You Were Young by The Killers, which although decent they didn’t do anything with it. It might have been nice to see some improvisation to the original, or an unexpected twist to portray something of themselves in it.

 

 

                Lastly, we had Bloom. Based on Facebook likes, this band were the most popular, and I could see why. Their songs were really engaging with changes in pace, interesting structures, smooth transitions and some crazy pedal action. Jumping around on stage, their enthusiasm was infectious, and they were obviously enjoying themselves. Their last song began with a mellow tone, yet light and engrossing as they mixed up the vocalists, making it fluid and easy to listen to with a build up to a powerful ending.

               Based on audience votes, the bands through to the next round were Hyperion and Bloom, who will fight it out further to see if they can win the competition. Overall it was a successful night run by Campus Bands, and we are looking forward to the next new few heats.

 

Helen Payne

 

Featured Image Credits: Campus Bands

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