Friday, 23 April 2010

TURN IT UP Battle of the Bands - Heat # 2

HEAT TWO – Thursday night

The curse of the teen bands has struck again and for the second night in a row (and a third tomorrow already confirmed) one of the bands has dropped out, leaving a straight three-way dust-up between Hikaru, The Abyss and Project Wolverine. It’s immediately obvious that the audience appears to be split into two big gangs brought along by the two full bands – so which one has brought the most? Or can the acoustic stylings of Project Wolverine split the vote? Away we go!


In a way, Hikaru are a lot more like I was expecting the bands competing in a 14 – 19 year old Battle of the Bands to sound - I’d describe them as “metally metal”. Brilliantly, they apologise for their second vocalist’s absence – “he does the screams”. The lead vocalist does his best to make up for it though, foot up on the monitor he switches between singing and growling gutturally. But they’re good musicians into the bargain: the drummer and the lead guitarist are particularly noticeable - the rhythms are a barrage, and the widdly soloing produced by the little dude on lead is impressive. Despite the slightly muddy sound, I enjoyed the three songs, particularly the second one which contains a gothy circling riff.

Phil sez: "Dude, I totally missed them! I can't believe they started on time!"


The Abyss have a metal sound too, but it’s a more regimented yet melodic affair. Their mix seems better, their riffs heavier and more precise. I’m struggling to think which band they remind me of when on their fourth song they announce “this is our second System Of A Down cover tonight, this is Chop Suey”. Aha! Overall, their second track was their best, I don’t think that was a SOAD cover – though I did get a bit busy at the bar, so I didn’t see the whole set, just heard it. But there’s a nice balance to their loudness and quietness. Good stuff. Also, they’re all dressed in black except the guitarist on the left who clearly didn’t get the memo!

Phil sez: “Solid alterna-metal, I liked the second song best with the slightly more melodic feel that almost echoed My Bloody Valentine, and the final instrumental closer with the surfy guitar lead.”


Regular Monkey Kettle watchers will know that we have “previous” with the fantastic Project Wolverine, so hopefully this won’t sound too biased. As if already resigned to not winning – he later told us that if he’d got through to the final he’d have struggled to book the night off work! – Proj W is relaxed enough with the audience to banter away, yet also seemingly determined to get through as many songs as he can while he’s on the stage! He manages twelve choons, easily more than the other two bands put together! Many of his classic left-leaning anthems are included, along with a Billy Bragg cover - and he’s even stuck a “Vote Labour” poster on the front monitor! But I’m really pleased to hear his newer songs also contain some even more well-turned lyrics about life and love. In fact my “Tune Of The Night” combines both: “Socialism Is For Lovers”. There’s widespread singing along from the audience, plus a philosophical discussion on the nature of Metaphor. What more could you ask? Coming soon to an Open Mic near you!!! ;-)

Phil sez: “A brilliant almost-headline set from Project Wolverine, with intelligent song writing and a confident performance he won over the crowd with his tales of teenage woe in the Mirror City. If I could choose, he'd have been the winner.”


I don’t think it’ll surprise you that my vote (I made sure I got a voting slip this time!) was for Project Wolverine too, but the biggest army of fans was clearly brought by Hikaru – they join Knuckle*Down in Saturday’s final. Just one slot left – who will join them?

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