Mossbank Hall rocked last Friday as six young groups went head to head in “Battle of the Bands”. Despite the competitive edge, it was a mutually supportive event showcasing the hard work these young guys (yes, it was all young guys – come on girls!) have put in during a recent series of band workshops in youth clubs around Shetland.
First up were Sick Twisted Fate from Brae, featuring singer Joe Watt, Lewis Murray on drums, Michael Williamson on bass and guitarists Jordan Clark and Shane Leask. With their set of four self-penned stompers, they got things off to a pounding start. Watt’s vocals were well delivered, interspersed with almost inhuman rumbling barks and groans, while the pounding double bass drum work of Murray and nibble riffery of Clark guaranteed an eminent delivery of the Slipknot and Pantera influenced set. Particularly impressive considering the band played their first gig in Whalsay just a week before.
Next up was four piece A Date With Hate from Sandwick, comprising Kieran Jamieson on drums, bassist Struan Thomson, guitarist Ray McGinley and Anthony Cox on vox. Cox got stuck straight in, reaching from the stage to point his mic to the audience and punch skywards.
The band, formed especially for the gig, ably knocked out three cover versions displaying good use of dynamics and stage presence.
Hot on their heels came Organised Chaos, another south end three piece playing their first gig, comprising Peter Keay on bass and vocals, Joseph McCormick on guitar and vocals and Eamonn Watt thumping the tubs. They launched into their intro shuffle as Keay introduced the band, before blasting through a set of covers, including a polished version of Green Days’ American Idiot, an oft abused cover that the boys did real justice to. A tight band that had obviously put in the hours.
All the way from Whalsay, Dr Marshall wasted no time hammering into their set of originals and classic covers. Guitarists Peter Kay and Lee Irvine, Cameron Stevenson on vocals, Douglas Stevenson on drums and Robbie Jamieson on bass got the hall jumping aided by Stevenson’s textbook rock moves – mic twirling and fist up, head down wide legged swaggery. Rock on Whalsay!
Then came Catch ZE2, the most seasoned of the evening’s performers with a few gigs under their belts. With James Johnson on guitar, Iain Devonald filling combined bass and vocal duties and Shaun Ratter on drums, the band produced a tight and polished sound. Their fluent musicianship is bound to earn them a loyal following around Shetland, so watch out for them in the “What’s On” section.
The final band was Sausage Selector from Lerwick, a band obviously at home on stage. Led by charismatic singer and guitarist Zack Manson, with Joe Barrie on bass and Richie Williams on drums, the group blasted through some up tempo covers, sprinkled with a healthy dose of good natured banter. A thoroughly entertaining set, and I look forward to hearing more from them.
Then the judges retired to make their decision. Not one that was easy, or taken lightly, as the prize up for grabs was a day in the recording studio, professionally written press materials and promo photos, and a headline gig organised by the Shetland Young Promoters’ Group.
And so, the verdict was delivered and after much leaping and air punching worthy winners Organised Chaos took to the stage for a final triumphant performance, to the appreciation of the assembled audience and their fellow bands.