A delayed review of the third round of Cambridge Band Competition at The Portland Arms.
Yet another night of mixed styles but all of top quality leaving the judges with difficult decisions to make. First up Das Kapitans who hail from Norfolk & Cambridge A lively rock-punk three piece obviously well used to getting things going as being first up did not phase them in the least. Look out for their own DIY label Socks On Records.
Peterborough based Bad Monkey are a three-piece rockin’ folk outfit with probably the longest neck on a bass guitar in the competition! A good, toe tapping set with enough volume rank as real rockers.
Fresh from BurySOUND came The Routine, a four-piece indie rock group. A good tight band who I suspect will be gracing the stages of a few rock festivals over the coming months. These guys are well worth seeking out, you will not stand still at one of their gigs.
Next up we had Levi Coffin, or to give the band its full title: Levi Coffin and his Underground Railroad. None of the members of this band look old enough to have been involved in the 19th century network of safe houses and secret roots after which the band is named. That historical detail aside they produce a cracking rock’n’roll sound with a nod to old fashioned rhythm and blues delivered in a somewhat punkish style.
Finally, we had LOAE. And here, for me, is where band competitions come into their own. Had you invited me along to a gig to see a band consisting of a human beatbox and a guitarist I might have made my excuses – beatbox, human or otherwise, not my thing. Until now. The sound produced by these two guys was nothing short of astounding. What Kieran Steels does to produce the rhythm section of this duo is nothing short genius but when added to Alex Waller’s vocals and catchy signwriting then the two together are a very special experience indeed. I was not alone in my enjoyment of this set, the judges pronounced them the winners at the end of the night.
Once again the Cambridge Band Competition produced an eclectic mix of top quality bands, it is a real shame that only one goes through to the final.