PUSH START BATTLE OF THE BANDS – MARIBRYNONG HEAT @ The Reverence Hotel, June 2015

This Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend, I decided to spend a day out with mum in the city. We ended up going to the Mind Body Spirit festival as we’re both into healing, meditation and relaxation. I actually feel very guarded and hesitant every time I walk past a stall because I know each consultant is there to make a sale. By offering something for free, they can then lure you in and make their sales pitch. But today I just wasn’t falling for it. I was deliberately not making eye contact with any of them and yet I still wanted to get myself a wheat bag. I would have been more relaxed if I had a few hundred dollars with me but there in lies the problem. Happiness doesn’t come from purchasing material things and yet this festival is trying to promote just that. At least the music events and seminars were free to sit down and listen to so it wasn’t an entire waste.

This week my ear problems were cropping up again. It started when lumps were forming behind my earlobe and on the side of my outer ear and after using Savlon cream, my wheat bag, panadol rapid and a few hot showers, the pain was beginning to subside. But then my outer ear began to form scabs and the pain level was becoming unbearable. After seeing my doctor on Thursday, it turns out that I have an ear infection and need to use Ciproxin HC antibiotic ear drops. Thankfully it’s clearing up now but of course I still have the occasional twinge of pain. It’s always spontaneous and random, even affecting my glands and jaw line.

As you can see, this year’s Battle of the Bands event has been moved from Phoenix Youth Centre to the Reverence Hotel. The turnout was staggering with many parents, family and friends out to support their sons and daughters in each of the bands competing today. When I arrived at the venue, I bumped into quite a few of my friends including Matt, Owen, Jake, Mikey and James. Despite the packed room, I was quite content hovering in a section close to the stage all day and eventually I ran into a few more familiar faces.

I wasn’t putting too much pressure on myself today, both with making conversation and the fact that there was 3 other gigs on today. I often get myself restless and have low energy levels with makes in harder to stay motivated and focused. As much as I wanted to make it out to all the gigs today, I made my choice and stuck with this. I have to be realistic, I’m not Superman after all and my health comes first.

MADI & MCKENNA…Opening the show up we had this acoustic duo comprised of Madi Peake and James McKenna. Vocalist Madi had a soulful charm about her with alluring confidence and strong influences from singers such as Sia and Vanessa Amorosi. James was fully immersed in his acoustic guitar skills with lovely laid back chords. These guys were the runners up of the competition. https://www.facebook.com/pages/MadiMcKenna/

ASHPHALT HEART…Whilst I can appreciate that this is the acoustic duo’s first time playing on stage, the flaws were evident from the get-go. The vocal delivery was jarring and shifted manically throughout and there was also significant tuning and timing issues whilst playing. But despite all this, they should be applauded for getting up there. I do think there is a lot of potential as their cover of Vance Joy’s Rip Tide was a commendable attempt and even the song Chasing Dragons had moments where it shone. I think after some fine tuning and more practice, they could do really well.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ashphalt-Heart/978761875476059?fref=ts

CADILLAC DRIFTERS…I have to admit, I was pretty reserved when I saw these guys on the stage. They certainly looked the part with matching black leather jackets, white shirts, jeans and gelled up hair but on first impressions, they screamed “High school covers band” like something you’d see at a graduation ceremony. But their performance was pretty entertaining and they did a solid job with the covers which included Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Bryan Adams’ Summer of ’69 and John Mellencamp’s Hurts So Good. I think it would have been better if they included some originals and balanced it with their covers and also the crowd interaction was non-existent. But beside that, if I was one of their parents, I’d be really proud of them.

https://soundcloud.com/cadillac-drifters-1

HONEY BUCKET…Local Footscray City indie band. I actually dug these guys a lot. Vocalist Kyle had a slightly free-flowing style to his delivery which echoed bands of the British variety. The guitar riffs were quite psychedelic and groovy at times with plenty of chilled out vibes. I loved the fact that they were trying to get the audience involved and Kyle did a great job trying to build rappore, saying “give it up” at several opportune times. These guys ended up winning the door prize. Congrats! https://www.facebook.com/HBuckets/

ALIAS ARISE…The first of two heavy bands in the competition, this local progressive metalcore band were really tight throughout their set. Playing tracks off their EP Evolution including Glass Knuckles, Glist and the title track, a few people in the crowd threw down and got involved. They did have some technical issues with their samples but besides this, a very solid performance. http://aliasarise.bandcamp.com/releases

GRAVEMARKINGS…The second heavy band and final act in the competition. I’ve been wanting to see this local experimental metalcore band for a while now and they definitely delivered the goods. The entire band except drummer Dean descended off the stage and really got amongst the crowd. Vocalist Rhys (ex-To The Gallows) screamed with plenty of epic gutturals and brutal moments. Guitarist and backup vocalist Mikey Duffield (ex-Attack At Greenwood) had a few standout solo performances of his own, particularly at the end of their set. These guys were the winners of the Battle of the Bands. A much deserved win. https://www.facebook.com/GravemarkingsBand?fref=ts

STRICKLAND…It’s been a few months since I saw these boys last play, which was at their album launch show at the Ding Dong lounge. They brought their usual comedic antics to the stage, playing several tracks off their album Human including singles The Fear, This Suffering, Be Free and This is Love. David Vernon (Belle Haven) dropped some beautiful guest vocals and really impressed the crowd. I really connect with this band so much especially since their lyrics deal with many mental health issues and affects me on a personal level. They are nothing but positive and inspiring.

https://stricklandmelbourne.bandcamp.com/album/human

BELLE HAVEN…Just like these guys! Demonstrating another highly energetic performance, the boys played several tracks off their debut album Everything Ablaze including the singles Hunt For Health and The Looking Glass plus Closet and A Rebirth of Self. They never fail to put on a great performance and are always grateful to be supported by the audience. The vibes were all good ones as people in the crowd threw down, grabbed the mic and sung along. They definitely ended the day on a high note. https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/everything-ablaze/id966054008

Thank you to Freeza and the Maribrynong City Council for running and organising today’s event including the door people, stage crew and sound guys. And also to all of my friends who hung out with me today and making me feel loved and included 🙂

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