Photos by Maffi
The evening saw the four bands, The Riots, Heart of the Sun, Bleached Wail and Maybe This Friday competing for what turned out to be, surprisingly, two places in Thursday 21 May's final. Having announced the very deserving Heart of the Sun as the winner, organisers signalled from the balcony to inform that the equally deserving Bleached Wail would also have a chance at playing the opening slot at the Britannia stadium at the end of the month. The last minute decision gives us five bands in the final The Fears, The People Involved, One Horse Race, Heart of the Sun and Bleached Wail. It’s going to be close thing! The line up will provide us with a great night of local talent battling it out in front of a BBC film crew. The doors will open promptly at 7.30 with the running order being decided on the night, so make sure you’re there early. All the bands sets will be filmed so get yourselves down there and make some noise for what is undoubtedly a great cause and a fantastic opportunity for the bands and the City.
The Riots opened the night with their particular version of driving bluesy rock. They have a bruising, visceral sound that is menacing at the edges. Their songs bounced round the room with a thuggish pulse. They are a very fine band but tonight they were up against some stiff competition. Next on Stage were Heart of the Sun. This was the first time I've had a chance to listen to this band and I have to say I was impressed. James Blake is a frontman who has the potential to mature into something out of the ordinary. The audience screamed appreciation and the band engaged them in a thrilling set of energetic songs. They have the skill to carry off a cover of a Kylie song '2 Hearts', effortlessly blending it into their performance. Not an easy task I imagine. Bleached Wail followed with an extraordinarily tight performance that received the biggest crowd reaction so far. The loud popping of a bulb in the stage lights mid song (Ginge will try anything to get his new lighting) didn't distract the lads from delivering what was for my money the most polished set of the evening. Their version of the Pink Panther theme was fantastic, vocalist / guitarist Gus exhibiting some great guitar playing. By this point the band were on fire. After the closing number the excited audience shouted 'we want more' as they left the stage. So did I. Maybe This Friday finished off the evening. Lois Stevenson their singer certainly looks like she should be up there. The band played confidently backing her tuneful vocals with conviction and precision. Their sound was punky and upbeat, they were having fun. I thought they had a chance of taking the night’s prize, but it was not to be.
Don't forget, The Grand Final at The Sugarmill, Thursday 21 May, 7.30, to support your favourites and if you want to be on the telly.