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LIVE! – Coopers Battle of The Bands

June 22, 2009 by  

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LIVE! – Coopers Battle of The Bands

Coopers Battle of The Bands @ Coopers Technology College, 20/06/09

School’s certainly changed since my day. I left compulsory education almost ten years ago and – whether or not my memory’s been charred by the hedonism of late teens and early twenties is a seperate issue – there were never large scale events such as the one I’ve ended up at this evening. Five student bands, one professional headliner, a BBQ, strobe lights, pyrotechnics… Yes, Coopers Technology College knows how to throw a party!

It’s a simple premise. Five bands comprised of students aged between 14 and 18 are battling it out for a session in a recording studio in central London with a professional engineer. Not bad at all for a group of kids who wouldn’t even get served in their local pub. After obligatory introductions and warnings, first on stage this evening is quintet Eskimo Fanclub. Opening the show, you might have expected a blistering first song. However, riddled with technical issues, they made a slow start and never recovered. I later found out that the group declared they would sabotage the event because they were unhappy with being first on the bill. If that’s the case, they’ve got all the attitude of mouthy upstarts yet with little musical ability to back it up. Such disappointing and immature behaviour will get you nowhere…

The youngest band of the competition – The Unknown – are up next. Looking shy and nervous, I’m beginning to wonder why I’ve travelled out to zone 6 this evening. Alas, I thought too soon. What I mistook for incompetence is a genuine uncertainty. This is the first time they have ever performed in front of an audience, and by their second song – a cover of Snow Patrol’s ‘Run’ – the tense five piece manage to relax. Within twenty minutes, they go from frightened schoolboys to quiet masters of the stage. Girls lean over the barriers and scream for the vocalist, and parents watch intently. Given a bit more practice, The Unknown will hone their skills and could easily become something quite impressive.

Blueprint are next on the bill, and turn the school hall into a grimy emo venue. Armoured with bouffant hair and just the right amount of swagger, these lads pitch it perfectly. Their vocalist’s intense screamcore vocals might put off the majority of the audience tonight, who are casual music fans, but their rendition of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘By The Way’ scored serious points. As tight as they are, competition is tough tonight, and The Difference Between are keen to show their skills. Such as Dave Grohl is the nice guy of rock, The Difference Between are the nice guys of South East London. Grateful, unassuming, yet fun and adept, here’s yet another top act suprising me at what I expected to be an evening of average entertainment.

The last of the student bands is the apparently accomplished and very well known (within the college anyway..!) The Routes. Bursting with moves, the fierce chemistry between all band members was wonderfully obvious. Not only do these boys know how to work a stage, they know how to work the audience too, getting everyone in the room clapping and singing along. At 17 years old, that’s not bad going.

Whilst the votes are being counted, top Glaswegian hard rockers Wired Desire entertain with their own brand of thundering riffs and tight rhythms. Bounding in from stage right dressed in the college’s blazer and tie, vocalist Daly and bassist Eddy made an impression, but as lead guitarist Jam jumped into the crowd and then lay on the stage whilst fingering a spine-tingling guitar solo, the young audience is left gleeful.

And so, as the evening draws to a close, everyone’s wondering who might’ve won the star prize. Three bands managed to score second place with 57 votes, but the winning band with 62 votes was The Difference Between. Prizes aside, however, it’s wonderfully refreshing to see such talent being showcased in such a family friendly environment. If music was nurtured in every school like it has been for this event, there might be a bit less drivel on the radio in years to come.

– Joe McLean

Photos by Stef BH





One Response to “LIVE! – Coopers Battle of The Bands”
  1. Adam Stone says:

    Good to see it was a success!

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