Heat 6

Convention was kicked off the dancefloor before anyone had time to order a drink at the sixth heat of the LEP supported Battle of the Bands in Preston.

With much controversy, not least through their choice of name, duo 2Girls1Cup jokingly declared their set would prove critics right that they were not a “real band”. Such considerations didn’t really matter in the end, their one-track mini-club night was a revelation, a pounding mix of dub and grime, powered by nu-rave beats and hip-hop grooves. With humour and neon-lights to the fore, the reactions to 2Girls1Cup said it all.

Startling as the dance duo had been, Capeman did not feel the need to tone down their own brand of genre defying stunts. Deconstructing the simple rock formula into a jagged collection of de-tuned chords and scattered drums, their confrontational style was a refreshing take on the rock standard.

Metal to the very maximum in content and style roared onto the stage in the shape of You Will Fail, whose set began with a vocally strong melodic number undercut by sinister, growling guitars. Their onslaught continued with an atagonistic balance of thrash riffs and viscious hooks.

They may have been too much for the young indie band Chasing Bob, whose nervous vocals took a lot away from the otherwise charmingly twee set. A very busy stage seemed to confuse their own concentration, letting the noticeable strength of the first song to unravel with unfortunate rapidity.

Indie band Innocents Abroad brought a good confidence to the stage, with the opening songs of foot-tapping quality. The closing half lacked the crunch needed to keep the attention but in a heat with so many extremes, their slice of normality helped.

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Heat 5

The LEP supported Battle of the Bands at Preston’s The Venue could not have been more unpredictable had the bands been chosen by random lottery half-an-hour before the doors opened. With a festival load of people crammed together for the night’s enjoyment, the five bands on show did their best to lay claim to be Preston’s best top talent.

Metal band Force of Habit caught the eye as well as the ear, their flirtatious lead singer’s strong vocals and doll-pink hair shining out from centre-stage. The Force of Habit set was punchy and melodic, the vocals reverberating with the flickers of electro influences adding depth to an instantly impressive performance.

Youngsters Silicon Talent had a lot to say from behind their face-covering fringes, as they span around in great abandon with a shoegaze set punctuated with art-rock craziness. A highly interesting and tight set, Silicon Talent varied the moodier moments with kicking guitar heroics.

Guitar band The Cities launched into punk-infused rock, vocalist Steve switching from erratic screams and mumbles, which calmed down into a distinctive and arresting collection of moodier songs. A well balanced set had confidence and decently put together songs for a highly regarded stab for the main prize.

Blues and jazz combo Border Patrol had a great technical ability, although nothing they played seemed to attract the crowd despite the best efforts of all their long instrumentals.

For a better example of how best to put songs to such technical wizardry, prog-influenced House On Fire really shone with very impressive vocals in a characteristically ambitious set.

Heat 4

The Lancashire Evening Post supported search for the region’s best band continued at Preston’s The Venue. The five bands were welcome relief to the grim summer storms, the Prestonian equivalent of Dorothy stepping into Technicolor a long way from Kansas.

Indeed, Peter Simple gave a performance not too dissimilar to a dream sequence, their lead singer bounding with exhaustive glee. Whether his band’s ska/pop hybrid had any redeeming features did not matter, with unsuspecting members of the audience dragged into a celebration of hyperactive exuberance. When the better choruses kicked in, they were at their best, but this happened only fleetingly.

Peter Simple had not come alone in the funk stakes, for the gloriously named What The Funk had also packed the slap-bass for the trip. Their self-titled opener promised much, which sadly collapsed into a bland mix of wig-outs and ballads, culminating in a passable cover-version.

Metal stalwarts Without Motive ended on a cover too, preceded by a jarring and repetitive array of passable heavy rock numbers. The stadium sound was carried off very well but it all seemed quite forced.

Old gents Valvetronics sneaked two notable numbers into an otherwise bland set of rock standards, offering inoffensive songs with pleasing charm.

Telekinetic Fortunato were intense and invigorating, a burst of instrumental brilliance weaving melodies into knots, as thunderous as the weather.

Heat 3

The search for the area’s best new talent continued apace at The Venue in Preston with the Lancashire Evening Post supported Battle of the Bands now at its third heat. Quality in abundance may not have been reflected in the initially sparse crowd but the four bands filled the gaps in the audience with enough noise to compensate…and maybe even require compensation for temporary loss of hearing.

The techno kids of Myth Of Unity have a knowing confidence, their ambitious set throwing out rap/rock crossovers wrapped in bright neon lights. With apparent ease the dual vocalists played off each other with rave interpretations of the humble mic battle ripped to shreds.

If the “toasting” Unity crowd had it all to lose, the lads from 1.21 Gigawatts fought very hard as a comparatively quieter band. Their inoffensive rock spun interesting lyrics without a melodic hook to attract much attention, the nice character hidden beneath an earnest seriousness.

With their compelling if somewhat meandering set, Goonies Never Die were a complex bunch to decipher, all post-rock guitars layered with woven melodies, the lads were friendly without instant connection.

Their expansive set followed For Your Information, whose mix of rock styles had a particular charm, even though their songs appeared as slightly altered versions of the same generic source.

Totting up the votes, the judges awarded second round places to, acronym fans, GND and MOU.

42/26

Very insular, this blog. Good thing, perhaps. No critics. No eyes, either, though, or minds; so important, on the ‘net, to have minds as well as eyes. It cannot be solely music downloaders and single men whacking off over “freeview” clips can it? No matter, I digress…

I will not be writing a novel about Martin and Yvonne, two evangelical types who began to wander down separate garden paths when his “lightswitch” got turned off leaving his relationship with God as lonely as the one ultimately with the latter, who goes all insular within her prayer group to the extent that by the end, there’s no happy ending as such, more a realistic conclusion open to interpretation. Martin will – would, were I to write this novel – have a drug-dealing wheelchair bound friend called The Genk, whose name would be italicised for no reason throughout, so as to provide the reader with a question from this introduction; whilst Yvonne will live her life in flashback with jolly-hockeystick types called Jenni and Esther, or else with some extreme take on typical lefty-feminist types with cutesy-pie American accents. I’d call these names like Wanda or Jeza, were I ever to write this novel.

Which I may never do.

David Davis, meanwhile, former MP for Boothberry, and presently ex-member for Haltemprice and Howden, resigned his seat and Shadow Home Secretary position for the sole reason of the sword of fair play and the shield of…No, I mean, civil liberties, including ID cards and CCTV, but largely as a reaction to the 9-vote majority which allowed the 42-day detention without trail law change through despite mounting opposition. The resulting by-election was supposed to pit the mad/insane/quixotic/principled* Mr Davis against the Labour Party, who had been painted as Orwellian (or Brotherian, I guess) nannies of the most statist kind. Alas no-one at Labour HQ wanted to play Davis at his “stunt”, so instead the 26-strong by-election ballot paper includes a Christian who once wrote “So Macho”, the National Front, High Priest of the truely bonkers David Icke, the Green Party, countless ex-UKIP members now standing for other parties or as barely “independent” candidates, and the Mad Cow Girl. It is truely like no other democratic contest on earth,

42 days without detention is, of course, the most frightening piece of authortarian legislation this country has ever known, but my breath is held not one second for the rising up in protest by the population. That dream would be truly mad.

Caemas e’r bruio, gõas temsa apres temsa

To return, then. This feels strange, as though my diaries have been on-line for years without my knowledge…To come across pages, burned, as though through arson attack, in a house left to the elements…And yet, do I fill in the context?

No, nor do I delete the past. Far too honest, as the posts below would suggest. If, indeed, they were ever written. That’s the thing about the Internet; for all I know, the readership of this blog has been “0” before and will remain so thereafter.

Updates? There’s been a few. Moved house (twice, it must be…no?). Mind still unsettled, but mildly, nothing extreme or violent. My addictions have moved on (nothing much stronger than cans of Relentless and ham-salad sandwiches).

Dreams remain quite bizarre. It’s mildly amusing reading some of these early posts, and the brazen honesty which put them up here in the first place. Vanity Publishing at its most obvious. All real, though, maybe too much so.

To remain, though, that is the question. I’d rather stay…