Last night the second Battle of the Bands, organised by the inter-culturally active AIPB, took place in Boussac. I wrote about 2010’s here and the 2011 sequel was every bit as good. Benj wasn’t on the jury this year. Caiti was going to be, but at the last minute some bright spark decided that the judges needed to be at least 18, for reasons which elude me, but which ruled my daughter out. Shame, but the jury we did have still came to the right decision without her!
Six groups battled it out. Last year’s winners, the awesome Argyle from Poitiers, opened the evening with a session of great music. This band, consisting of brothers Basile and Arthur together with friend Noé, just gets better and better. If you ever get the chance to see them, seize it.
First up in the contest was Hill Treason. This is a five-member electro pop and trip-hop band, influenced by Massive Attack, with drums, keyboards, guitar and two female vocalists. Only one was named in the programme, Pauline, and I didn’t quite catch the name of the other announced last night. I think perhaps it was Lynette? Anyway, along with Michael, Cedric and Jerome they gave a gutsy, talented performance and got the show rolling.
Singless Project came next, an alternative rock band, consisting of three guitarists and a drummer. Now the two Guillaumes, Benoit and Adrien were good, very good, but I think they could do with a vocalist to widen the appeal. They were also pretty scruffy! Now I’m no fashionista myself, and I’m not advocating a return to the sequinned and shiny matching suits of 80s pop groups, but maybe just a little effort, lads? I know two of you were wearing cool shades, but all the same!
Next it was the turn of a group from neighbouring Haute Vienne. Prism Break had three guitars, keyboards and drums. Here was classy classic rock, and then some. Olivier, Fabien, David, Bruno and Sylvain played brilliantly. It was obvious they’d go through to the semi-final.
Up to now there hadn’t been much dancing. Caiti and I were officially on duty, keeping an eye on the entrance to the side room where all the musicians’ equipment was. Last year there’d been a few problems with unsupervised kids getting in there and messing with stuff. We were at the right hand side of the floor. I’d been jiggling around discreetly behind Caiti – 17 year olds are easy to embarrass, and I just have to dance, so this was a good compromise. But then Hernbay, a young Indie rock group with a Boussaquin among them, took to the stage. Their groupies took to the floor and at last there was some dancing, although the youth of today are no match for my generation! The Stalk, Blake and Doug gave a good performance. Maybe they’d give Prism Break a run for the money?
No. Midnight Rider put paid to that. This band consists of three mature British rockers – my kind of lads. Richard, Keith and Mat, who said they were only here to have some fun, got lots of people to their feet with seamless covers of ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ and ‘Highway to Hell’. Here was real quality.
Then finally Hold On, a superb rock blues group, with British Bev Calladine as vocalist, had their turn. Together with Stellio, Wilfrid and Pierre, she got everyone dancing again. Bev has a smashing voice.
The results weren’t long in coming. Midnight Rider and Prism Break were the two semi-finalists, so after a short interlude they played again, each doing just two numbers. Prism Break seemed to have lost their edge this time round. The songs they played were good but not really good. Maybe a bit too pretentious? After their first session, I’d actually thought they might well win. However, Midnight Rider came up with the perfect combo of ‘Born to Be Wild’ and, the clincher, the Sex Pistols’ ‘Pretty Vacant’ which they performed brilliantly. Now, over the years I’ve done my mother-daughter thing with Caiti and tried to pass on useful skills like knitting (little success), sewing (more enthusisam) and cooking (Caiti has way surpassed me there now). Last night it was time to do fulfil another maternal duty and teach my girl to pogo! She shows a lot of promise.
And so Midnight Rider triumphed. The right result. And it means they’ll be back next year to open the show. I can’t wait!
It was a great night at the Battle of the Bands. There was a good crowd, everyone had fun and I imagine we raised plenty of money for the ‘La Maison des Parents’ charity. My ears will ring for another few days I expect, but who cares. I love rock music!
Apologies for lack of photos of the event but my camera wasn’t up to the job. The photo I’ve used is from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/ and is by Vinicius de Carvalho Venancio.