Rhian Daly reports on Band Competition Heat 2 – The Junction, Cambridge, 14 Mar 2007

Local Cambridgeshire Artist
It's the second of four heats in Cambridge's annual band competition and tonight there's a real variety of performers all vying for a place in the final. First up is Bomb Factory, a group of 30 to 40 something punk poets. Playing to a handful of attendants, there's not the atmosphere that could make this performance go from average to electric. The lyrics are snarled aggressively, reminiscent of old school punk bands like The Ruts. There's not much stage presence displayed in tonight's performance, but from lack of trying. All in all, Bomb Factory are evocative of Art Brut having a mid life crisis. I'm still undecided whether that's a good thing or not.

It's time for a change with the second act, as Buntingford's Fugazirum take to the stage. Showcasing some fine blues/funk/rap fusion tunes, their set passes by in a blur as the audience gets into the groove and dance along. Catchy hooks and some fantastic bass lines mean Fugazirum go down a treat, warming up the crowd perfectly with their call and response between song interactions.

Flying from blues to acoustic now, third on is singer/songwriter Kyla Bowen-la-Grange. Like an English, foul mouthed KT Tunstall, she proves quite a hit with the audience - particularly the male members amongst it. She shows promise and a huge wealth of talent (and modesty) but can get rather repetitive at times. Two a cappella songs could benefit from a little more percussion or an added guitar backing, but otherwise her tunes are strong and she shows great potential for the future.

Finally, we come to Me Against The World, also from Buntingford. Playing pop-punk/emo, they make for a energetic, feel good final band. Foot tapping and head nodding is hard to resist during their set and you can't help but feel a smile slowly spread across your face. Like a British Billy Talent, they're punky and raw and make no apologies for not being the greatest musicians around. Technical ability doesn't matter to their simple songs - if they were any better at playing their instruments, it would detract from the pure, unadulterated fun and who on earth would want that?

After a high quality second heat, the next finalist is decided. One of the more outstanding acts of the night, Fugazirum deservedly take the place in the final.

Writer: Rhian Daly