This year’s Battle of the Bands kicks off on Saturday with the opening heat being staged at Watlington Sports and Social Club. Staged by Twisted Melon Promotions, in association with KL.FM and Festival Too, BOTB is now in its seventh year and it promises to be the biggest yet with, once again, great prizes on offer.
Some well-known names on the local music scene are past winners, starting off with Jessie’s Ghost in 2011, followed by I Am The Dice (2012), The Brink and Whole Lotta Hair (2013), Addison’s Uncle (2014), Morganway (2015) and Finding Ana last year.
Triston Finnis, of Twisted Melon Promotions, writes: “As with 2016, Watlington Sports & Social Club plays host to the first heat and if that debut show is anything to go by its sure to be a banger of a gig.
“This year we have some amazing prizes. The winner and runner-up will both perform on the main stage in front of thousands at this summer’s Festival Too. We are also very pleased to announce that the highest placed solo/duo acoustic act also wins a slot on the main stage at this year’s Festival Too’s Lazy Sunday hosted by BBC Introducing.
“The winners also receive recording time, band backline equipment, band merch, photoshoot and a professional consultation package with Stampede Press. As if that’s not enough, every heat winner receives airtime on KL.FM 96.7 an absolute sure-fire way to get your act heard by thousands.
“In the heats we will be travelling to a diverse selection of venues including the fantastic and newly-refurbished Shucks, in Thornham. The majority of heats are at all age venues ensuring this competition is something for the whole family to enjoy and, as usual, all heats are free entry.”
In BOTB heats, acts play a 30-minute set and are then given feedback by the judging panel consisting of music industry professionals, music journalists and Festival Too committee members. The winning act then progresses to the live KL.FM on-air semi-finals and ultimately to the grand final.
This year’s BOTB also has a fresh look and feel with genre specific heats from solo/acoustic to Metal/alternative with the majority of the acts making their debuts in the competition.
Saturday’s heat at Watlington has an 8pm start and the four bands are:
Skyfight: In 2013 the band made it to the regional final of MMG Battle of the Bands and was invited to perform on the ‘hi-jack’ tour. In 2014 they released their first EP entitled Into the Future (available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify). The title track from the EP Jumping (Into the Future) was nominated as one of the ‘21 songs that you have to hear in 2015’ for the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition. 2016 held a new challenge for the band as they released their new single, Poppy, to commemorate Remembrance Day and the Royal British Legion.
Skyfight are singer Kerry Meatyard, songwriter and guitarist Dan Nufrio, bass guitarist Alex Whittle and drummer Toby Bass.
Half Price Drinks: HPD for short are a talented four-piece, female fronted covers band from Cambridgeshire founded in 2016. Their energetic and enthusiastic performances, eclectic mix of songs and strong female vocals have consistently impressed their audiences since their first performance at Outwell Music Festival last May. Since then, they have performed all over Norfolk and Cambridgeshire (and as far away as Oxford) at 25 gigs in their first six months! Their repertoire spans from the 60s to the present day, from The Beatles and Steppenwolf to Foo Fighters and Paloma Faith.
Tantris: These Huntingdon and Ely rockers return to Battle Of the Bands in 2017 after narrowly missing out on the semi’s last year when finishing just behind the eventual solo competition winner Simon Benefer.
Tantris are Tristan Hall, Josh Greene and Rich Matthews, a three-piece act who write their own material as well as performing popular covers. They play alternative rock, blues, indie and rockabilly. Their influences range from Jimi Hendrix to the Arctic Monkeys to the Stray Cats.
Smoking With Indians: An originals indie/rock four- piece, based around Lynn and Wisbech. They formed in 2016 as a three-piece and performed in that guise for last year’s competition, but now return with a much bigger full band sound.
Consisting of Josh Diggle on vocals, Jack Diggle on lead guitar, Corey Doades on rhythm guitar and Chris Gillys on drums, their influences include Oasis, Cage The Elephant, The Libertines, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones and The Beatles. The lads have performed in pubs and clubs across Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, making a name for themselves.