Portarlington RFC's Battle of The Bands

Ok, this review is a bit late coming. Today, as I write this, it is currently Tuesday the 10th of May. This gig happened on Sunday, April 24th. I lost the notepad with the notes in it, ok? Anyway, luckily, I found it again. Hurray!

And this is a picture of the band that won. Not the three lads in the back, they were the judges. But bless them all the same, it doesn't even look as though the body of Christ has hardened to the roofs of their mouths yet after their first holy communion. They're so small! But we'll get back to them later. Here's a list of who played and a brief summation of how they played on the night. I won't know every song that was played because keep in mind, as this night went on, I was consuming more and more Budweiser. Good times. 

ACT 1: Seán Murphy 
Is the second or third time this guys been mentioned here? I dunno. I've a feeling it won't be the last either. Seán decided to open his set and the night with an original of his called "Too Old". I wanted to kill him when he  started playing it because it's always stuck in my feckin head. But he played it brilliantly, nice and lively, despite being taken aback by the amount of echo he had on his vocals (well, to be honest, we were all taken aback a bit). 
It was during his next song that Seán really played up to the crowd with a Coronas cover, "San Diego Song". Once again, he was in top form and everybody loved him. As usual. Although once again, he seemed shocked and surprised at the echo of his own voice. It was actually kinda funny watching him. He had that expression on his face like a dog has when it meets a remote control airplane for the first time.

ACT 2: Simon O'Driscoll 
I love how a battle of the bands opens up with two solo artists. Weird. But anyway, this guy was epic. He opened up with a Bruno Mars cover singing "Grenade" and was damn sight to listen to (yes, that does make sense. Think about it.) Everyone listening to him was just blown away because, oh yeah, did I mention he was playing a MUTHERFUCKIN UKULELE??? This guy was owning the shit outta thing like a BOSS with his simple but funky tropical sound. Badass. Simply badass.

Pretty much all the people in this band were people I knew who used to go to the same school as me (a year or two younger maybe) and yet I didn't know any of them were in a band, let alone could play any instruments. So this was going to be interesting. I was hoping for that kind of situation when the school bully picks on the nerdy guy in the hallway and Dexter there pulls out a freakin judo chop and everyone's all  like "huh, didn't know he knew ju-kung-fooey". 
And I got that. Kinda.
ATN opened with the age old Fratellis tune, "Chelsea Dagger" and I gotta hand it to them, they played it pretty good. Except for the drumming. The drumming was fierce dodgy altogether. Poor old Tadhg sounded like he was nervous didn't really seem to be able to keep it all running nicely but he pulled through in the end without too many people noticing. 
The second song they pulled out was a Killers' tune, "Mr. Brightside". Very good but same criticism as last time on the drumming and was it just me or was that song played awefully slow? I put it down to nerves on the night.

ACT 4: Screamin Vegas
Y'no, I'd seen these guys play before and they were good. Damn good. They could be a headlining act. So I decided to sit back, relax, enjoy my third can and just say "time to chill, these guys got this shit".
How right I was.
Screamin Vegas were not only on top form but I'd swear they had gotton better. They opened up with an original rock tune called "Sweet Love" (I'm nearly certain that's what it was called). This song had it all; Call and response on the vocals, synchronized movements, sharp as nails solo and a heavy-as-my-girlfriends-tits breakdown. What. A. Tune.
The followed that up with a cover of Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock". It was a very loyal and accurate cover but I'd say out of all they time they were on stage for this song, they spent half of it on the crowd participation and it was a really winner of a move. The crowd loved them. 

ACT 5: Perception
When I found out that the guitarist for this band was my current girlfriend's ex boyfriend, there was certainly a temptation to go off on one on these guys and just call them shite but I'd be lying through my ass. Having said that, I have one HUGE criticism of them which made them a bit shite. But I'll save it for the end so as not to cast the rest of the review in a dark light.
I didn't catch the name of their first song but it was an original and it was pretty good. I know one of the more persistent lyrics in the song was "blow your mind" so if anyone knows the song, there ya are now. It was great craic aswell to see Seán (mentioned previously) and Claire Hyland get up and start dancing with the band. 
The second song was a Doors' cover, "Break On Through (To The Other Side)". It was a good cover except Declan (the aforementioned guitarist) messed up the intro but made a decent recovery. 
As for that one criticism; they had no bassist. Without a bassist, both songs just sounded tinny and incomplete like someone decided to play bass on Rock Band but then fell asleep for the whole song. However, major thumbs up to Jack on the keyboard. That guy was epic win. 

ACT 6: Cramptown Spaces
Ahhh....Cramptown spaces...yeah ok, I'm gonna be honest, I tried to take down notes on them. But I was pretty mashed at this stage so forgive me if I can't make out my own handwriting. But yeah, from a group of lads who look as though they had only just stopped being breastfed, they had an unreal sound to them!! If you want a comparison, think Two Door Cinema Club in 1st Class at school. Ok, I joke, they weren't THAT young. They were somewhere in the line of 13 - 15yrs but still, that's freakin young!! Their singer was a bit out of tune or flat, or off key or something but once again, I'm gonna put that down to nerves or something. If there was any doubt that guys might not have won the gig, it was gone when the broke out the "Boats and hoes" reference. If you are unfamiliar with it, go home. Just...go. Now. 

ACT 7: INdium
This left me reeling when I found out they were playing. INdium?? Together again? It couldn't be! My favourite local band playing a gig? I was there. I was slightly disheartened to learn that Chris and Jack (drummer and bassist respectively) wouldn't be playing but was delighted to see who replaced them; David Harte and Sean Costello of Small Town Heroes! Yay! Ahem, anyway, moving on. 
First song to open their set was "Roadhouse Blues", the old Doors favourite, as well as INdium's. An expected  cover from the likes of Gav but certainly a comforting one. Remember that feeling I described earlier that just makes you go "yeah, they got this shit"? This was that feeling all over again. The second song was an Audioslave cover and I gotta say, with David on the 5 string bass, Gav with the bluesy vocals, Sean keepin the beats steady and Elliot in top form on the gee-tar, these guys were as good as could be expected. I was only dissapointed with  the lack of crowd participation which some of the earlier bands were able to come up with but from my knowledge of INdium, that may have been a bit outside their comfort zone. Ah well, good as ever!

ACT 8: Negative One
Another band from me hometown of Portarlington. I had seen them play before and I was let down back then but woah, had they freakin improved or what?? They opened up with "Hands Open", a Snow Patrol cover and they nailed it. The second song was "Kids", originally by MGMT. This was certainly a crowd pleaser and they played it perfectly. These lads were great on the crowd participation (which I'm trying to emphasize as it was a factor the judges were judging on) and I have to compliment their drummer. That mutherfucker knew his shit.

ACT 9: Bebop & Rocksteady
Emmm....ok, I'll be honest here, they were meant to play! But Shawn (lead singer) went and broke his hand that day. So Bebop didn't play. ;(

So that was all the bands. I'm going to try and read my handwriting here from my notes at the time to try and tell you what happened from the semi finals on...

Ok, it was Screamin Vegas and Cramptown Spaces who made it through to the semi finals and fair juice to them, they both deserved it. For Screaming Vegas, I had written down as follows:

"Screamin V.
 - Crowd Interaction
 - Top Form
 - Slick "

I think that about sums them up.
For Cramptown Spaces, I wrote:

" "You Look Good On The Dancefloor"
V good
Better than 1st

Yeah, I'm just as confused as you are as to why I called it an accurate and legal cover, but hey, that's what 5 cans of Bud will do to ya. Anyway, it was Cramptown Spaces who won in the end and kudos to them (although I think it was the cute factor that got them through).

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