By Tamsin George
The sound of Battle of the Bands 2008, organised by Rhodes Live Music Society (LMS), exploded in the Union on Thursday night. With the bands finding the perfect platform from which to showcase their stuff, they played with such fury and passion that the intent to “destroy the competition”, as put by the Night’s Templar bassist, was made crystal clear.
Featuring the likes of 10 Points for the Dismount, Motara, Night’s Templar, Timmy Likes Milk and The Armchair Antics, the Union was centre stage for some of the most promising bands Grahamstown has to offer. Luke Clayton, LMS chairperson, explained that in the selection for featuring bands, LMS looks at those bands “breaking the market”, saying it’s always “good to support the underdog”. Despite the fact that the five bands featured this year is a considerable reduction from the huge 2006 turn-out of 22 bands, support for the regulars and anticipation for newcomers echoed inside Union walls. The competitive spirit was also fired up as people proved their support for their favourites, with audience members adorning white shirts splattered with red in support of Motara.
Clayton explained the workings of the voting system, saying the system is designed to be as “free and fair” as possible. The votes are divided up 50/50 between the judges and the audience, making the vote half expert opinion and half public opinion. The three judges are authorities in the field and comprise of Corinne Cooper, a local studio owner and sound technician lecturer, Brian Ford, a “legendary local muso” as put by Clayton, and Michael Drewett, Sociology and History and Appreciation of Music lecturer. After all the performances, the voting started and despite tough competition, only one band proved victorious – Motara. Despite the fact that entrance for non-members of LMS was only R15, when the talent displayed was obviously worth so much more, it was curious that the event wasn’t much bigger in its support. While Battle of the Bands is an annual event, Clayton confirmed that LMS aims at around “two gigs a term”, almost always at Union. LMS members are informed of events via email, while non-members often don’t know about these events at all. So Activate and LMS have come to the music-lover’s aid. Clayton has promised to add the newspaper to the LMS mailing-list and this should ensure that Activate readers will be informed about Live Music Society events through the upcoming ‘events’ box in forthcoming editions.