Monday, 26 April 2010

TURN IT UP Battle of the Bands - The Final

THE FINAL – Saturday night

Well, it’s been a great week for me behind the seating rake, but all good things must come to an end – and on Saturday night the biggest audience of all the four nights (as you’d imagine) gathered to watch Hikaru, SuperMassiveMonkeyMen (yes, Men not Man, despite what the compere says!) and Knuckle*Down compete for the title of Turn It Up winner.

Before we get down to business, a massive shout out to Gawaine and the MADCAP Music Project in general – this has been a great advert to the work they’re doing with young people, and I’ve been impressed most of all by the sheer variety of bands they seem to be encouraging and developing! Kudos!


It’s nice to be able to see Hikaru get a second bite at the cherry – tonight their sound and mix are far better than Thursday night, and you really got the full benefit of their quiet-LOUD metal dynamic. I also realise that when I praised one of their lead guitarist’s work the other night, I’d missed the fact that the other lead guitarist is every bit as good – this time he’s higher in the mix and you can hear how well he can play too. It might not be 'my kind of thing' necessarily, but Hikaru definitely deserve to be classed up there alongside any other young MK band in this genre.

Phil sez: “Solid alt-metal in the vein of System Of A Down complete with a cover of Toxicity and some stunning guitar and drum work.”


It’s another casually confident set from the SuperMassiveMonkeyMen – some of the same songs from last night sound just as fresh, and there’s some new tracks thrown in too for good measure. The last song (Myles later claims many of them don't have titles??) is a doomy epic which shows another angle to them, and overall I genuinely dig their cheerful scuzz-rock sound. It’s right up my alley anyway of course, but for me – Band Of The Week.

Phil sez: “Brilliant indie rock, this is much more my thing, with great songs, some sharp guitar work and a solid rhythm section that holds it all together.”


But really you'd have to say that the competition has saved one of the most impressive sets for last. Knuckle*Down seem to have managed to bring along the biggest fanbase, and clearly fancied their chances of winning as a consequence, which helped them. They just seemed livelier, more sure of themselves tonight – and the crowd responded. It’s a joyous, friendly rush through their songs – the singer has us in the palm of his hand, even organising a stage invasion (benevolent rather than revolutionary!). A day later, two days later and I still have their anthem “We Are Knuckle*Down” going round and round in my head.

Phil sez: “These guys really picked up their game tonight and gave us a very solid performance of their hip-hop infused alt-metal. They were definitely a crowd favourite and when the kids invaded the stage it was no surprise they ended up winning.”


Yes, Phil’s on the money. Knuckle*Down were the winners, and given their massive popularity on the night no-one can have any complaints. As local bands go their sound is fresh and energetic – and in their frontman they have a unique weapon. But all three bands tonight – in fact all the bands we’ve seen this week – have had something to offer, and should all be proud of themselves in their own way. I gather several of the acts already have plans to take indefinite hiatuses come the Summer when University beckons, but if they do they can go out with their heads held high. And just maybe form new bands at Uni and come back and play at MADCAP again some day! Thanks for listening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really feel that, that competition was run completely wrong. It was a popularity contest not a talent show! Apple of the core i think their called are truly awesome and really deserved to win it. It's a shame that madcap run it that way. But either way congratz to knuckle down. Good luck for the mk4u gig....