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May 28, 2007 | by  | in Music |
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Live Reviews – Student Battle of the Bands, The Worm, Punchbowl and the Pink Flamingos

This week in reviews was rather uneventful. Myself and the VBC’s Doug Téreu were roped into judging the heats for the student battle of the bands on Wednesday night at the Massey Tussock bar, then I checked out the finals on the Friday night.

As we were plied with free beer to make the arduous task of comparing these completely different acts against each other, we worked on a points system – taking into account instrumental technicality, vocals abilities, overall sound, originality, etc.

The aim of the game is to get through to the finals, where the winner gets a spot at next year’s orientation shows. Wednesday featured five contending acts – the first of which gave the impression of a pub-based, Rock FM-with-dashes-of-Iron-Maiden-covers band, who threw together some ‘original’ material for these heats (although not really original as they still sounded like covers).

There was also a solo singer/songwriter, Lil Miss Sariah, who deserves an honorary mention despite not being placed – her vocals were stunning and the emotion she put into her set was mesmerising. She often plays at acoustic nights around Wellington, so go check her out. Then in was ‘Tool Time’ when Riverblind contended for a placement. They were rhythmically tight, and individually exceptional musicians but their vocalists dragged their marks down as his ‘choir boy ten years later’ sound did not match up with the bands whole 1990s funk metal sound. The winners of the Wednesday heats were a 7 (ish) piece ‘Wellington sound’ jazz/dub/funk group, apparently made up of music students. However, Doug’s and my personal favourite was Stephen Jackson, who also won the heart of Salient’s Nicola Kean on Friday night. Stephens quirky renditions of pop songs, such as Beyonce’s ‘Crazy in Love’, and Gwen Stefani’s ‘What You Waiting For?’ was much appreciated and even though they were covers his original depictions of them stood out against the sameness of the other bands. Fingers crossed we can get him for Polar fleece Day.The following week, Wednesday 23rd May I checked out the Worm, Punchbowl and the Pink Flamingos first show at the Adelaide, which had shocking sound, especially with the mic constantly cutting out.

The Worm – a one man super-experimental sound was, by many accounts, a challenging listen, leaving a few shocked facial expressions. From what I did hear, I felt aurally assaulted. Punchbowl were on form, this time playing with more hard-core elements, and the debuting Pink Flamingos, made up of some members of the now defunct Deathray Soiree mixed punk elements with 70s rock and roll (MC5 kind). The Pink Flamingos had two guitars and drums, with both guitarists sharing the one mic, alternating lead duties. Taking into account it was a debut, they were well received and although there were a few timing issues and technical difficulties, I would definitely rate them above some of the bands I endured at the Tussock. According to my friend “Mainstream New Zealander Becky,” who does not usually attend such events the “hard-core-esque rock and roll show was a little bit loud, a little bit screamey, however if that’s the way you roll you’ll like it a lot.” True.

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