Running a battle of the bands never really interested me. In fact I’ve been very critical in the past of recent local battle of the band competitions. When they become basically a popularity contest I don’t really see the point in them. Just let the band with the most fans win and be done with it.

However in the build up to Out Of The Ashes 2013 the notion of a botb competition sort of made sense. In fact it would have its benefits. Not only would it build up interest for the main event in July 2013 but it would also allow me, as a promoter, to see some bands live I may not have seen before. Win win surely?

To avoid me coming across as a hypocrite with my botb I decided to have each heat judged by 3 judges with NO public vote. We’ve put an emphasis on ‘crowd reaction’ to make sure bands do their all to get people to the events but this isn’t a popularity contest. Fingers crossed the ‘right’ band would always get through….I hope!

So at present we’re are halfway through and we’ve had 4 amazing heats: 2 at Brookers Rock Bar and 2 at The Compass (both venues are in Chester). I’ve been blown away by the quality of the bands, which have been a fantastic mix of genres from bands from North Wales and the north west.

HEAT 1:

Heat 1 was at Brookers Rock Bar and pitted youngsters Burning Out and Indigo Sky up against Denbigh’s Audiobloom and Deeside’s The Bluebottle Veins (pic above). It was a brilliant night of indie/rock with a surprisingly large crowd out for the first night in this competition. In the end there was only 6 points separating the top 3 bands on the night, with The Bluebottle Veins eventually running out as winners.

HEAT 2:

Still at Brookers this was going to be a slightly heavier affair. However with 2 drop outs it did give 2 new bands to myself the chance to get in on the event. Secret Shows were probably the odd one out on the night considering the genres of the other 3 bands, but they did themselves proud and would eventually score highly with the judges. New boys Leaning On Gravity also really impressed on the night, especially as they played the event at 24hrs notice and drove all the way over from the west Wales coast to be with us….and brought a decent crowd with them. Impressive! That’s not to take away from the crowd brought by Liverpool’s own Rain May Fall (main pic) and most of Chester University who had come down to support Scarred Saint. Packed wasn’t the word and it was always going to be hard to pick a winner on the night. Eventually though Rain May Fall ran out as winners on the night.


HEAT 3:

After the closure of Brookers the week before we now moved across Chester to The Compass. There was always the fear that the crowds we were getting on Sundays may not follow us to a new venue. I was wrong, they did! Again we’d had some drop outs which meant on the night we only had three bands: The Rifts, Tatty Jeans and The Origin. In the end the night’s crowd was a 50 – 50 split between The Rifts and Tatty Jeans, so announcing the result was always going to feel a little tricky. The Origin did well on the night but with them not really bringing anyone to support them it was always going to be between the other 2 bands….or should I say families. Family Rifts vs Family Tatty. It was The Rifts though who eventually  won through on the night, scoring, what is at time of writing, the highest score by any band who’s taken part in the competition.


HEAT 4:

Heat 4 was all about one thing: METAL! It was going to be a coming together of classic metal and ‘new’metal, or as someone on the night called it ’emo metal’. Whatever you wanted to call it this wasn’t going to be for the faint hearted and by the time Verona (who had replaced Real 7 last minute) began their set the room was already full. Templar, In Depths (pic above) and Gridlocked (pic below) followed and all played to fantastic crowds. It was a little disappointing to witness a lack of support by a few bands for each other but I guess this is a competition after all.  Maybe this was the first night when it was actually a ‘battle’ of the bands. At the end of the night we ended up with the situation I’d been dreading all competition; a draw! The 3 judges could not separate In Depths and Gridlocked on the night so both bands moved through to the Semi Finals.

Since the night took place, and due to a lack of quality bands taking part in the Birkenhead competition,  Gridlocked have now moved over to that competition where they will take their place in the finals. In Depths will still be taking the place they won on the night in the Chester semi finals.

It’s been an amazing competition so far, and another bonus for the bands who’ve taken part is that some of them have now been asked to play on other events at The Compass and Central Station in Wrexham.

I’d like to thank all the bands who’ve taken part so far. Everyone should be very proud of the performances they have put in.

We have 2 Welsh bands and 2 English bands through so far.

We have a little break now but we’re back at The Compass on the 17th March 2013. The next heats are as follows:

HEAT 5 – 17th March 2013: Motion Empire//Dinosaur Garden//No Distance Between//Hex

HEAT 6 – 24th March 2013: Queens Minions//Pay For Your Sins//Warsisters//(TBC)

HEAT 7 – 14th April: Brazen Swagger//Real 7//Artisfiction//Synapse

Semi Finals take place on the 12th and 26th May 2013 with the final to take place in June (date tbc). All events are at The Compass, Chester.

Halfway there and loving it!

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