So here we are again. Campus Bands’ Battle Of The Bands, which sprawls over the duration of the second term, has resurfaced. Whilst the incentive for bands is clear, for the punter it provides a unique experience to watch high-quality live music each Monday. This week’s opening night set the tone for what should be another excellent series of duels, with three strong sets. All in all, it proved to be a solid showcase of the best student acts have to offer.
For anyone who wasn’t present, it would be Saudade and Empires Of Glass that progressed. The latter opened fire first, their weapon of choice proving to be inoffensive and summery compositions. The front man was perhaps the most impressive singer of the night, delivering a solid vocal showing, although he couldn’t quite sustain his falsetto in a welcome cover of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. At the end of their performance, they promised a different set as well as the inclusion of a drummer in the next round, and with their subsequent progression I’m looking forward to them fulfilling this aim.
Whilst Empires Of Glass could be criticised for, at times, seeming too quiet, Saudade had no such issue. The 4-piece were a more traditional proposition, and with the distortion well and truly ‘up’, they delivered a barrage of alt-rock. Their front man was a charismatic one, who reminded me a bit of Brian Molko, although the band as a whole was perhaps closer to Smashing Pumpkins. Overall, Saudade went down the best with the night’s audience, and there was little doubt that they would progress, whether it be due to the judges or the popular vote.
White Elephant Emporium would be the act to ultimately miss out on progression, however they were my personal highlight. Having a degree of experience on the local circuit, and a few releases to their name, I felt they delivered a unique performance – a strange hybrid of Kate Bush and Paramore. I appreciated the variety in their set, and was rather surprised to not see them move on to the next round. That being said, Empires Of Glass and Saudade were by no means undeserving. Overall, Campus Bands delivered a competitive heat with three accomplished acts, and I’m looking forward to next week’s battle, which with any luck will be of even higher quality.