Clayesmore’s bands battle it out

Clayesmore’s Director of Music, Mr Ralph Kerr, writes about the ever-popular “Battle of the Bands” event: 

An enthusiastic crowd gathered in the Clayesmore Theatre last Friday evening for this year’s hotly contested Battle of the Bands. Introductions by charismatic compères, Paddy and Jasmine, were followed by opening performances given by “Vanilla Market”. This experienced and energetic band was fronted by Isaac (vocals and electric guitar) and accompanied by Louis (electric guitar), Ed (keyboards) and Billy (drums). The crowd quickly warmed to Isaac’s friendly stage manner and lyrical vocals. After solid performances by “Vanilla Market” of Brazil by Declan McKenna and Homesick by Catfish and the Bottlemen, it was the turn of the youngest band in the competition, “Untied”. This band comprised of Harold (vocals), Josh (guitar), George (electric bass) and Henry (drums), who are all in Year 11. Their rendition of Oasis’ Wall of Glass, arranged by Henry, got off to an exciting start with energetic guitar playing by Josh and confident vocals from Harold. This is definitely a band to watch in the coming years!

We were treated next to some outstanding a cappella singing with “Clayesmore Close Harmony”. The hard work this group had put into practising was clear from the start of their arrangement of Stand by me, by Ben E. King. A sturdy bass riff was set down by James and Callum, over which Jessica floated the melody, with added harmonies from Georgia and percussive beat boxing from Harry. Their rendition of Sugar, by Maroon 5, was just as entertaining and skilfully performed. Clayesmore Close Harmony’s ability to convey a cappella versions of songs is most impressive and their tuneful harmonising demonstrates what fine musicians they all are.

The finale of the evening was carried off by our compères, Paddy and Jasmine, who were joined by Felix and Lizzie. This group really got the crowd going with their performances of Somebody else, by The 1975, Fix you by Coldplay and Africa by Toto. Paddy’s charismatic stage presence, supported by strong performances from Jasmine Shepherd on keyboards and Felix on drums, as well as Lizzie’s tuneful backing vocals, won the favour of the crowd. In the voting which followed this band’s performances, the crowd voted for them as firm winners of the competition. Although yet unnamed as a band, Paddy, Jasmine, Felix and Lizzie will visit Absolute Music Studios, in Poole, to redeem their winning prize, enjoying an all expenses paid session in the recording studios there which will result in a professionally edited recording of their songs.

Thanks must go to Mr Andrews and Mr Musson for organising this year’s very successful Battle of the Bands, as well as to Paddy and Jasmine for entertaining the crowd so well.