The Scissors, The Running Mayfairs, The Scene Is Dead and Villa Savoye
Soul Tree, 20.4.09
Battle of the bands heat 2.

Following the success of the first heat of the annual Cambridge band competition was always going to be a difficult task, but one that was entirely achievable, as bands from the local music scene once again rose forth and took to the stage of ‘The Soul Tree’ to chase the desirable prizes and be crowned winners of the Cambridge band competition 2009.

Performances from the previous heat saw numerous delays in proceedings, as a number of bands were overcome by the stresses of excessive practice, resulting in fatigued strings, lost microphones, and splintering drum sticks; such is the enthusiasm of the competitors. Unsurprisingly, such incidents arose throughout the second heat, but with the bands primary focus on the array of glimmering musical doubloon, not even a broken guitar string could stand in the way of potential fame and fortune for one lucky band.

‘The Running Mayfairs’ were a strong band that many have heard peripherally, but for reasons unknown remain relatively unheard of on the Cambridge circuit when sharing a bill with the likes of previous acts such as ‘Sensible fun’ and ‘The Perfect Crime’. With odds seemingly stacked against them, this humble yet confident collection create a musical landscape that relentlessly shifts from choppy layered guitars and a technically demanding rhythm section, to emotive bass driven rock songs that appeal to anyone with a palette for contemporary music. With the vocalist sharing rhythm guitar duties, the passion that radiated around the endearing front man was to such recognition that his impassioned jerky stage antics encouraged heads to bob in synch around the venue, creating a visible wave of enthusiastic approval among audience members and peers.

The impressively timed snapping of a drumstick proved to be a minor contributing threat to the refreshing performance, and after quickly commencing with the next song, the band eviscerated their way through the rest of the set. It was the passion and showmanship of each member of the band that encouraged the audience to erupt with applause after the conclusion, even receiving an approving yodel from one enthusiastic member of the crowd.

A band that owns potential by the bucket load, and a live show to match, be sure to follow this band on their journey to the bright lights of the mainstream.

After making their way onto the stage, ‘The Scene Is Dead’ delivered every song on the set list with a cocky swagger, deservedly owned by the band with the biggest following of the evening. The climbing crescendo of the opener was of a grand scale, and when the introduction peaked, a notable relief played across the crowd.
Playing familiar rock songs with one of the most talented male vocalists to emerge from the scene, the band were the most consistently tight of the heat; evidence enough to prove the extent of devotion they have towards the music they play. However, if the band name and show content is anything to go by, on the surface, the band don’t appear to be doing anything new; directly ironic of the lack of local musical diversity the band apparently profess to avoid. But for those willing to look beyond a misleading band name, one would quickly find oneself being bludgeoned by the abundance of ballsy rock passionately churned by this band. Taking audible influence from rock giants ‘The Wildhearts’, ‘The Scene Is Dead’ raised the bar for the following bands, and filled the stage to its maximum capacity, a sight that in a venue so restricted by size was a sight to behold.

Rarely does a 5-piece sound as epic as their potential will allow them, but ‘The Scene Is Dead’ is one very special exception; for a ‘scene that’s dead’, it has fondly encouraged the spawning of this exceptional live band, and not a single viewer reached the climax of their set without allowing a wicked smile to play across their face.

Battling minor sound problems from the offset, the respectable persistence of ‘Villa Savoye’ had the audience captivated from the beginning of their set.

An accomplished local band that boast a rounded figure of friends on Myspace, ‘Villa Savoye’ play predominantly mid-fast tempo emotive rock, with each member considerably surpassing the required skill level to resound within a genre that many believe stagnant.

The wall of power that is created by this trio is unrivalled by many others on the bill at this stage of the competition, and a newly found fan base was so surely discovered, as the confidence and conviction in which the band played earned them one of the largest applauses of the night.

Aesthetically, there was always going to be one band that stood out from the sizeable crowd, and they perform under the guise of ‘The Scissors’.

Comparable to ‘Panic at the disco!’ due to their apparent involvement in the revival of Parisian theatricality, but resounding within the boundaries of a far more credible genre, ‘The Scissors’ were as endearing as they come. They had the strongest songs of the heat, when originality, crowd response and the tightness with which they played were considered, and when accompanied by the atmosphere created by the band, made for an irresistible live show, that when performed on a bigger stage, would feel at home within the boundaries of a stage production.

The Scissors were the most popular band to play thus far in the heat, eventually winning the beer cheer and overall on points.