Time is almost up. The pressure mounts as tonight decides which two bands make it to next week’s final at Livewire. Audience and artists tense alike I took each band aside before the show to chat with them about the competition and how each band would sum up their set in 5 words.
Let the games begin:
Refuge of the Fallen
“Tight, New, Tasty, True, Massive”
Dressed head-to-toe in black, Refuge of the Fallen discuss tonight’s competition as guitarist Kris cracks open a Monster. “Helvellyn are smashing it at the moment!” He says while drummer Dom shakes his head, “For me it’s Common Logic. People overlooked them… bearing in mind it’s their third gig,” His bandmates nod in agreement as Kris and Josh go on to talk about Deadsnakes “[they’re] good. They actually went to mine and Dom’s college we had a nice chat with them.” With a UK tour and too many gigs to count on two hands and feet it’s hard to believe that Refuge could possibly be nervous but modesty becomes them “I’ve been shaking for like, three hours,” laughs Adam. Dom, clearly looking on the brightside jumps in with “We’ll at least come fourth. We’ll come somewhere between first and fourth.”
Plymouthians and Livewire locals Refuge of the Fallen spew the same heavy, gritty tones that the band seems to carry on their collective shoulders wherever they play, playing the old and gold, digging the gritty “Blizzard” out of the depths of their repertoire; and the latest and greatest, a slightly more melodic number entitled “Malfunction”. Their setlist however, was absent of One Direction songs. Boyband goes Metal covers aside Refuge still brings in a crowd with their massive energy and skinny jeans, we’re looking at you Aiden.
“Diversification, Theatrical, Refined, Visual, Adorable”
Faces covered in glitter Deadsnakes struggle to come up with five words to describe their set. Words like “fast” and “floaty” are thrown around. “I’d say interesting but it might come across a little pretentious” Says drummer Will. Vocalist Daniel elaborates: “From feedback from previous gigs y’know, some of the people have said stuff like ‘you have a sound of virility’ which ultimately amounts to interest and interesting sound.” Both members agree you’ve got to see it to believe it.
Interesting, might actually perfectly sum up Deadsnakes. A strong, snappy backbeat, fresh riffs and an impressive falsetto this 5-piece, as dynamic and theatrical as ever keep the audience dancing and energies high. It’s clear that competition tonight is tough, each band sets it’s own bar and Deadsnakes, modest and buzzing from excitement, whip the venue to fit their sound, leaving the enthusiastic crowd control over their own swaying bodies. They do really have to be experienced live for the full effect, but Will says he’s equally interested in hearing the other bands play.
“The band of tonight for me is Refuge, simply because I know they’ve got a tour and an interested following.” adds Daniel before the conversation turns to close friends and the importance of support between musicians. Popular and perceptive, the pressure rises. With two more bands to go, are we yet to be blessed with Deadsnakes eloquence in next week’s final?
“Boy Who Cried Basking Shark” (previously: “I like to think good”)
“It’s really weird because [Refuge of the Fallen] are my previous band so going up against them is like betraying family.” Guitarist Isaac grins. Confident and in high spirits, Helvellyn brush off their nerves in favour of flannel shirts, oversized tees and the raw, emotional rollercoaster that will be tonights set.
After Deadsnakes glitter cabaret Saltash’s very own Helvellyn look perfectly ordinary taking to the stage. Flinging themselves into “Dear You” the 4 piece (and self proclaimed “one and only gospel choir from the Isle of Wight” according to vocalist Joe Day) quickly draws in a fervent crowd, who begin to sway back and forth in no time to melodic riffs and rough vocals. By the end of their set, the crowd is out of breath from jumping, the band is sweating and the bar is raised.
“Three songs in fifteen minutes”
Everybody’s favorite underdogs, Common Logic are back for a third time, can they make it a fourth? Drummer James thinks they can only try their hardest “As long as we have fun, and get the audience have fun it doesn’t matter.” Vocalist Toby adds, “It doesn’t matter if we don’t get through, we can just write more songs, we have time.”
The boys, youngest and least experienced of all the competition don’t seem swayed by nerves like the other bands, after closely coming second to Helvellyn in Heat 4, the question on everybody’s lips is: do they have a secret weapon to blow the rival indie quartet out of the water. The answer, according to Toby, is “the power of funk”. Sounds pretty threatening; but apparently it’s all they need. Funky fresh and improving every day (just when you thought they couldn’t get any better) Common Logic draw a lively crowd – all dancing and swaying, two boys were waltzing out of time but they looked like they were having a good time. Keys player Thorr wows the audience with his solo during a song that “is about trains”, or so we’re told by Josh; it’s a fan favourite.
Common Logic are a wild ride from start to finish, some audience members even call for an encore once their set is finished. The competition has never been so stiff, the audience hangs around the venue, sitting on tenterhooks to see who will make it through to next week’s final.
Apparently, Common Logic’s power of funk didn’t just blow Helvellyn out of the water, but the rest of the competition too as they land themselves a spot in the final with Ten Zero One and Cousin Buzz. An overjoyed, and somehow still sweating Helvellyn taking second place, and also get themselves one step closer to that all important prize!