REVIEW: UOW Band Comp, Heat 3

Words by Sally McMullen

Despite the intriguing line-up of 21st Century Happiness, Thomas Covenant, Shit Sandwich, The Maze and At The Gallows, the night began a little slow; only a small number were on hand as 21st Century Happiness took the stage. The metal and industrial trio began with a powerful, melodic riff that lasted for minutes before crescendoing into a heavy breakdown. Musically, the band were extremely tight, guitarist Danny King and bassist Chris Harbin had great on-stage chemistry, and the percussion of Carlos formed the backbone of the tracks. The rare vocal appearances in the instrumental tracks were shared between Danny and Chris. Although individually they were often drowned out by the overpowering instruments or sometimes even the chatter of the crowd, their powerful tracks grabbed the attention of an small crowd.

Once Thomas Covenant appeared onstage, it was clear that they could not have been a further contrast from their predecessors. With a pop-punk melodic intro, crashing into a fast paced adrenaline fuelled riff, the crowd was immediately drawn to the vibrancy and enthusiasm of the four. Declan, lead singer and guitarist, owned the stage; as he gyrated his hips towards the microphone, eyes rolling back into his skull, one could not help think of him as a fair haired version of The Vines’ Craig Nicholls. Taking influence from 60s pop and punk, the band had a great onstage presence, bouncing off each other’s energy and filling the UniBar with raucous noise that left the crowd mesmerised.

Following on were the much anticipated Shit Sandwich, one of the night’s highlights with their comedy style performance bringing in a large percentage of the crowd. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the songs were indeed about ‘number twos,’ some of the most memorable being ‘How to be shit’ and ‘Girls shit too.’ With a comedic wit similar to Tenacious D, Shit Sandwich had the crowd guffawing throughout the entire set, helping lighten the atmosphere and draw a good reaction from a previously passive crowd. Drawing on rockabilly and surf rock sounds, with an equal balance of humour and talent, Shit Sandwich were a welcome surprise that added some needed comedic relief to the band comp.

Next up were The Maze. The set began with a synth track, before settling into the energetic pop-rock style traditionally associated with the group. Zachary Gervaise’s voice made leaps and bounds that had every pair of eyes and ears in the house drawn to the stage from beginning to end. Despite some minor technical glitches, the band performed extremely well and lived up to their local reputation. Throwing in a cover of ‘Baby One More Time’, an instant crowd pleaser, the audience were singing and dancing along.

Last but not least were metalcore band, At The Gallows. Despite a restless crowd, At The Gallows’ hardcore sound was a refreshing twist after hours of mainly indie-rock and pop. Taking obvious inspiration from bands such as Parkway Drive and Bring Me The Horizon, with heavy guitar riffs and classic hardcore breakdowns, At The Gallows performed with passion and intensity. Lead singer Brad did not stop moving, leaping and rolling across the stage from start to finish, even jumping off the stage onto the dancefloor in an attempt to spark up the crowd. Considering the band consists of only 16 and 17 year olds, and were missing a vocalist tonight, they have a great dynamic for such a young group and put in an impressive performance.

It was Thomas Covenant whose feisty performance came out on top, with Shit Sandwich as runner up. Both bands will continue onto the next round to compete against the other finalists for the National Band Comp prize. With the fourth and final heat just around the corner, we can expect another impressive night from Tommy M and the Mastersounds, Beaten Bodies, Emris, We Are Them and Sherekhan next Tuesday night!

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