HEAT ONE – Wednesday night
I’m not sure of all the rules to “Turn It Up” – for example in Heat One each band played a different number of songs and were on stage for differing lengths of time! I do know that the acts have to be between 14 and 19, and that many of them hail from MADCAP’s ace Music Project – as do the technical crew, who did a great job with the lights, sound and smoke! Apart from some of the band’s parents and Gawaine who runs the Music Project, me Phil and DJ Mikey seemed to be the only grown-ups in the building! Cripes! Another brilliant example of the self-sufficiency which MADCAP instils in da kidz.
Oh, though I mustn’t forget (of course!) the legendary Baron Makabre who’s our compere for the duration of the competition. I’m sure he won’t mind me describing him as horrific, terrifying and blood-curdling – and the crowd seem to love him! He performs a set of his own while the votes are being counted, and manages to whip up a mosh-pit and a stage invasion!
One of the four acts scheduled to appear are now off the bill, so it’s down to a three-way fight for the first of the Final slots between Knuckle*Down, Soul Of A Kid and Apple And The Core. Let battle commence!
Opening the competition with a hefty funk-rock clatter, “We Are Knuckledown” sets out the band’s stall. The frontman sounds very much like he hails from America, and his semi-rap vocals are definitely the main attraction, he’s a charismatic focal point. They cleverly manage to give us their complete MySpace address in the intro to their first song - now that's media-savvy! But it’s their third and final song which is the stand-out, adding a dark melody to the beef.
Phil sez: “Down tuned funk metal with attitude! Every song stands out on its own but its their last song that really shines and grooves with an unlikely Joy Division vibe.”
SOUL OF A KID
Soul Of A Kid are an acoustic duo, George & Manny. Both have genuinely touching soul-infused voices, and while George strums Manny sings and jerks his arms seemingly uncontrollably – like he’s got Tourettes of the limbs! Their second song is a cover of Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved”, which goes down really well with the crowd, who sing along so enthusiastically I’m moved to ask Phil “dude… when did it become okay to like Maroon 5 again? Did I miss a meeting?” Their best song is their third one too, “Hope”, where Manny (hopefully I’ve got the two the right way round) raps the verses, it’s an effective mix.
Phil sez: “Intelligent, emotional and quite beautiful, they certainly bring some soul to the evening.”
APPLE AND THE CORE
Remarkably, this is Apple And The Core’s first ever gig – having amalgamated together as a band specifically for this competition and the few months they have left before they all leave for University! Their main skill is their multi-instrumentalism: between the five of them over their five-song set they incorporate: vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, beatboxing, bongos, violin, flute, oboe, piano-keyboard and the ukulele! The resulting mix is a refreshing folky orchestral pop sound, and lead singer & songwriter Philippa’s voice is very strong. The best track of the entire night comes on their second song, “Sirens”, apparently based on her A Level History homework! The only quibble you could have is that their sheer variety of instrument playing makes for a few gaps while they all switch around – but otherwise an impressively mature sound. I wish them all well in their Higher Education! :-D
Phil sez: “If I could choose the winner it'd be these guys! The songs are more engaging than Bat For Lashes… this is intelligent pop music backed by staggeringly talented multi-instrumentalists.”
The winners are... Knuckle*Down! I think I personally preferred Apple And The Core too, but you can’t argue with Democracy!