[First filed: Aug 28, 2010 @ 12:30]
Thursday night saw a strange scene in Civic’s Transit Bar.
A smallish low room dominated by pool tables was crowded in with hip young things some distance from any campus for the 2010 National Campus Band Competition.
(One supposes it is at least neutral ground)
Into the dim room, under dim blue lighting (mostly) pasty young men came (mostly) dressed in black to show off their musical chops. (And pool players jostled to take a shot amongst a crowd that did not always grasp the etiquette).
While the like of Starfish Hill, Fun Machine, Pleased to Jive You, and The Naddiks are already veterans of the local music scene others had only been together for months and were playing to their biggest ever crowd.
Genres varied from the ones who sounded as if they wanted to be The Doors, the ones who wanted to be The Sex Pistols, Linkin Park, or Blink 182.
A reasonably up to date time traveller from the mid 1990s would have been hard pushed to notice any difference from their own time.
Well, musically at least. Using mobile phone notepads to share messages over the throbbing din of the PA system would be novel to them, hoodies have come a long way, smoke in bars is no more, and the beers are much improved and poured into pint glasses.
But other than those things the time traveller would notice barely any difference at all.
With 10 of 100 judging points awarded for crowd participation the bands made awkward, unpracticed efforts to get the audience singing along.
Transit is at best a challenging environment for sound engineers and Thursday night was no exception. One performer came up to me with a worried look on his face asking “Did we sound as muddy as these guys?”
With a slightly pained look I nodded in the affirmative.
And yet despite these gripes it was a good night.
A big crowd had a lot of fun. There was a lot of new music, and a great deal of it was very good.
Compared to most “battles of the bands” the general standard was spectacularly high with no stinkers.
You can have a look at snippets of them in the above video.
For mine the winner on the night was Velvette, a very professional 6 piece party band with *gasp* a woman up front *and* another band member who was not pasty and white. (I do not say this as a criticism of the other bands, who can’t help being who they are, but it was strikingly refreshing to see something different.)
Having watched all the bands I had to leave before the winners were announced, hopefully the website will be updated in due course.
UPDATE: And congratulations to Fun Machine who we hear got the nod from the judges.