There’s not many things Adam Walton and myself agree on, he always insists on being Dad when we play House and he also makes me sleep on the couch when I’ve had a drink as he says my snoring keeps him awake. But what we do agree on is Liverpool have had better seasons and that Battle of The Bands competitions SUCK BIG TIME.
So why and how the fuck did I end up sitting on a panel sneering like some slap head Simon Cowell at a bunch of bands hoping for that shot winning the coveted ‘Best Band’ title? And, who the fuck am I to judge whether one band is better than another. Well, obviously one band is better than another, but it’s all down to your taste; one man’s Stuntface is another woman’s JLS.
Battles of The Bands suck big time – that is a fact. I’ve never entered one myself, although when I managed Pocket Venus I put them into a competiton in Ellesmere Port and instigated that they trashed the brand new drum kit that was provided for the evening. Now that was a spectacle, all hell broke loose, fisty-cuffs, finger pointing, boo-ing and lots of jeering – funnily enough they didn’t win, but the night like any BoTB night is hardly about the quality of the music, but more about the rent-a-mob you bring with you to make a noise.
Do you blame bands for entering these competitions? Do you blame the organisers for dangling tempting carrots, luring these bands’ aspirations? What do they win? A place at Glastonbury opening in a tent on a mud-soaked Tuesday morning to some diary cows bursting with milk? A day in a recording studio canteen or a month’s supply of Big Macs? – I dunno.
So, anyway, Cumi phones me and asks if I’ll judge one of these competitions, and against me better judgement [sic] I agreed. Ok, let’s look at the pros of this particular night at Venue Cymru in Llandudno… The bands get to play on a big stage with a great sound and lights in front of 650 people, which for most is a first time experience and a memorable one, and you cannot deny that that can only be a good thing.
The cons… The judging panel consisted of the venue manager, a police superintendent, a BBC Radio Wales weather girl, a 70 year old drum tutor and his mother who was the mayoress of Llandudno. Oh, and some twat called Neil Crud. Now please excuse my ignorance, but when I saw my co-judges, apart from the drum guy and maybe the BBC girl, I thought what the fuck do any of these know about music, and what the fuck are they doing on the panel? And after the bands had played their 17 minutes or 3 songs allocated slot and we, the judges went for deliberation, I realised that none of them knew anything about music!
Just for the record, Bad Dog won the competition. The winner was announced on stage at the end (after a good 20 minute set by Courteous Thief) and there was huge anticipation beforehand, lots of fans cheering and waiting for the announcement;
‘And the winner is… Bad Dog.’ – Bemused silence….
No offence to Bad Dog, or any of the bands in fact, but the ‘judges’ were rapturous over the way you played a Guns’n’Roses cover. It was a COVER VERSION – that should’ve meant ZERO POINTS for originality, which is what any of the bands that played a cover got off me. Why not call it a Battle of The Karaoke Queens instead? I digress. Judges aside it was a good evening, I got to see 10 bands play their 3 best songs (sans covers), which saved travelling all over North Wales to be bored watching full sets by each one, and I also found a couple of decent new bands in Jed is Dead and Y Cer. I knew already about Zebedy and Kixxstart Kitty, Future Perfect were quite quirky, Rumour, Bad Dog and Longshot were okay and Whiskey & Lace were simply disturbing!!
Would I judge another one? No, but who am I to pass judgement…