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.