Rhian Daly reports on Band Competition Final – The Junction, Cambridge 4 April 2007

Local Cambridgeshire Artist
After a month of weekly heats featuring the cream of local talent, at last we arrive at the final expecting nothing less than a spectacular show. With a range of prizes up for grabs, including the £1000 top prize, all five bands give it their best shot and certainly don't disappoint.

Kicking off tonight's five-hour musical extravaganza is Under The Streetlamp, through to the final for having the most audience votes. Once again, we're treated to the stunning voice belonging to Jess Doherty and her band's catchy, foot tappingly brilliant jazz pop mix, which gets the crowd swaying and moving right from the off. Each and every song throughout the song seems to be in possession of a catchy hook that'll stick in your mind for days after, making this set one not easily forgotten.

In fact, not one band tonight puts in a performance that you'll have any problem remembering, least of all Heks. Bedfordshire's teenage metallers have had the longest to prepare for the final, having won the first heat and it certainly looks as if they've put some thought into it. Complete with shocking pink fur and leather trousers, they grab the audience's attention before they've even started playing. As for the music, it's metal by numbers - twiddly guitar solos and long, drawn out epics. It's nothing new, but it still maintains a certain level of freshness. Technically gifted and with more than enough stage presence, Heks seem like they have a great chance at winning at least one of the prizes tonight.

Third up is Hitchin's own Flamboyant Bella, who appear to have brought a small army of fans with them. Playing the same bubblegum indie-pop that helped them win Heat 3, the next half hour is a real treat. Their confidence seems to have improved ten-fold since their heat, leading to this being an altogether much more impressive set and one which will set them apart from the rest of the competition already seen this evening. Playing their future hits My Skies Are Blue and Break Away, they get the crowd dancing and raving more than any other group has managed so far. The end of their set comes far too quickly and before you know it, they're packing away their instruments and heading off backstage.

Heat two saw some groovy rap/blues fusion winning a place in the final for Buntingford's Fugazirum. Tonight, they've lost their drummer and with him they seem to have lost their edge. Giving it their best go with an acoustic set, which does its best to get your body moving, they show they can still put on a good show but the rhythms are more lacklustre, and it's noticeable. Nevertheless, they battle on, regaling the audience with a series of call and response, although even this becomes tiresome towards the end of the set.

Tiresome is not a word that could be used to describe the final band of the night - exhilarating, breathtaking and inspiring are, however. The Hot Bang walk on stage and there's immediately a buzz about the place. This is a band that has to be seen to be believed - a mix of folk, ska, rock and countless other genres, they create a unique sound that will leave you in a state of wonder and astonishment. Fusing such a diverse range of sounds shouldn't work so well, but it does, pushing these Cambridge eccentrics well ahead of the pack.

So, now all five bands have entertained and delighted us, a conclusion must be reached and a winner must be chosen. Unsurprisingly, its Flamboyant Bella that pick up most of the prizes, victorious on 4 counts winning the audience vote, beer cheer, ‘most likely to' PR prize and Best Song for their ode to binge drinking Absolutely Wankered. That leaves the main prize still to be won, which it deservedly is by the wonderful Hot Bang, who seem more than a little happy to be crowned this year's champions.

Writer/Photographer: Rhian Daly