Posted 27 Jan 2018, 9:26 p.m.

Judge: Fin

Artist: Haystack Overflow 

Musicianship/Skill - 3

Drums - Drive the song, with a few flashes of finesse

Bass - Mostly root notes but works with the songs

Misc. Strings - Appropriate for the genre, nothing overly taxing though

Fiddle - Nicley utilised, not overpowering

Vox - fit well

Professionalism - 5

Normally I'd complain about the intros but I get that it's a bit

Jokes go on long enough to get a laugh and move quickly on.

15:16 - pretty much bang on time

Songwriting - 3

Songs are well constructed - decent use of different tempos, intensities and dynamics

Decent use of everyone, no one feels superfluous

Nothing revolutionary though.

Creativity - 3

Certainly an act I've not seen in BotB before.

Comedy is hard but you do an admiral job here - kept the audience laughing.

Not much in the music however.

Stage Presence - 5

Nice to see you go all out on the stage dressing. Even got the flag hanging right. I've seen Americans fuck that up.

Humour works well, everyone is laughing.

Overall - 19

I don't think there's really anywhere to go from here.

The act relies a bit heavily on the one "joke" with a larger set it'd get old very quick. Decent Joke set though

Rank - 2nd

Artist: Incarnal Tunnel Syndrome

Musicianship/Skill - 3.5

Drums - Tight. Nice double kick usage

Vox - Out at times on high sections. Nice brutality on the growls

Broken guitar - Decently played. Solid stuff

Les Paul - Nice solo in first song. Solid stuff

Bass - Lost a bit in the mix. Solid stuff

Professionalism - 3

Yup the drums still work. Cymbals too...

Rest of the band dealt with the guitar problem pretty well, if a little nervously.

Decent timing. If you're in drop tuning maybe have a spare guitar.

Songwriting - 3

Decently constructed songs, sections flow nicely.

I feel you could use a few more dynamic shifts.

It often feels like a release of tension that you've not built up.

Creativity - 2.5

Decent start. setting the tone.

Some nice chunky riffs but nothing particularly new.

Could use some more variety to what you are doing

It's all a bit "riffs building to a solo"

Stage Presence - 4

Decent wall of sound.

Nice whipping of the hair, back and indeed forth.

Good amount of movement.

Overall - 16

Shame about the string snap, but you seemed to recover from it well. It's a bit generic at the moment, try to work on developing your own "take" on the genre. Good though I enjoyed it.

Rank - 3rd

Artist: Knight Owls

Musicianship/Skill - 3

Vox - Nice mix of styles. Nice use of harmonies.

Drums - Nice ideas, timing shakey restart. Too soft on quiet bits.

Guitars - Competently played but nothing special.

Bars - Decent, but mostly following guitars from what I could tell.

Professionalism - 3

Timings are all over the place at the start.

Lacklustre ending to the first song - pitiful second guitar chord (or something) ringing out by itself.

On and off without issue.

Songwriting - 2

1st song has a section with drums mostly on toms and everyone lost the tempo. If you are going to do this make sure you all have perfect time.

Songs are reasonably constructed if a little bit predictable.

Creativity - 3

A variety of styles on display - but mostly confined to single songs, no attempt at blending them together.

Stage Presence - 3.5

Frenetic vocalist makes up for a more subdued performance from everyone else.

Crowd engaged enough to do the clap gimmick for you.

Overall - 14.5

You need to tighten up your timing. Front person has a unique delivery but they're backed up by fairly pedestrian.

Rank - 4th

Artist: Elizabeth Penwill

Musicianship/Skill - 2.5

Vox - Vocals are pretty good - decent range.

Guitar - Cleanly played but it's just chords

Professionalism - 2

Don't chatter too much at the start - people want music not medical history. No ones interested in your cold.

Songwriting - 2

You've spent time working on your vocal lines, but there's nothing going on with the guitar.

Final song actually had something happening of guitar - oh well chords again. Song structure is ok if a little repetitive. Section fit together well enough.

Creativity - 1

Mostly nice vocals over chords.

All you have to convey your style is your voice and your guitar and you ignore the guitar.

Stage Presence - 2

Splitting the room by bringing in an in joke with "Comedy".

It works when Stuart Lee splits the room, because he's playing a character, but here it just makes everyone else go "eh?"

Overall- 9

You have a great voice but you neglect the rest of your song no focus on it. Work on your guitar into the songs, get some interplay going between your vocals and guitar.

Rank - 5th

Artist: Tamagotchi

Musicianship/ Skill - 4

Drums - tight but a few iffy fills

Keys - Nice playing. Some pretty impressive bits.

Vox - Decent but maybe a touch restrained

Guitar - Nice use of effects. Clear and clean playing.

Bass - Good, nice to hear some actual bass lines, not just aping guitars.

Professionalism - 4

O stage banter short and sweet.

On and off without...

Cable pop, really? Really!

Songwriting - 4

Nice use of double time in places.

Good swells and falls. SOme transitions feel a bit off (double time section in the second song). 

A bit too much reliance on sections where bass, guitar and keys are all playing the same things.

I like that you are taking some risks with structure.

Creativity - 3.5

Intro first song - I feel like I'm watching some import 90s kid show - this is a compliment I think.

Good use of effects pedal sounds.

A fairly retro sound, with some insanity at times. A bit of a rush vibe at the end?

Stage Presence - 4

Everyone is into it on stage. 

Decent amount of presence from the music too. 

Held the audience's attention.

Overall - 19.5

A nice set, good to see some experimental bits, some worked, others not so much. In general, there was a loose feel to the set at points when it needed

Rank - 1st


1st - Tamarack

2nd - Haystack

3rd - Incarnal

4th - Knight Owls

5th - Elizabeth Penwill

Posted 27 Jan 2018, 9:26 p.m.

Judge: Edam Thompson (because puns are cheesy get it? Write this bit too)

Artist: Haystack

Musicianship/Skill - 4.5

Drums: Great power, decent fills - drawing from the back

Bass: Mostly simple, but well locked into the kick and nice groove

E guitar: Nice lead work - solos very solid

A guitar/Vox: Strums fine - vox a little overpowered with some slightly sloppy mic tech, watch that head shake.

Violin: Solid - could incorporate some more vibrato but generally slick with some great moments.

Mandolin: Some really nice work here and solid deep vox.

Professionalism - 5

Great walk on - that's how to do it. Usually hate an intro but it was hilarious, comes across as a decent level comedy-music act. Mix is excellent & everyone cuts through where appropriate - I can smell a great soundcheck. CLose to perfect at 15:16 & off fine.

Songwriting - 5

Song 1: Generally well put together, nice transitions and individual sections cut through.

Broke-up-in-a-barn: Slower ballady, very nice. Best hook so far this year - I'll actually remember it.

Song 3: Great stops - very tight. Dancing in the chorus - very catchy. GO CLEETUS!

Creativity - 3

"Country music" - that's a classic oxymoron. Far from anything new, but that's not what you're going for. The creativity is in the comedy and you've pulled it off very well.

Lyrics are actually thought through which is refreshing and I was genuinely singing along - first time I've done that for years.

Stage Presence - 4

Incredibly gimmicky, but works very very well. Genuinely hilarious, which isn't often the case for joke bands on this stage.

Uniform fits and complements the music well and faux-southern accent is on point. Well lead from the front, but I wanted a bit more from the other members - with the exception of the bass, the nerves show a little with the rest.

Overall - 21.5

This was brilliant - musically stupid, but hilarious, endearing and very well rehearsed. Best funny band since Mr. Coc (actually probably better - just don't tell Craig & Tim).

Rank - 1

Artist: Incarnal

Musicianship/ Skill - 3.5

Drums: Nice kick - very tight. Generally very solid

Guitar (SL): NIce wobbly solo action - tasty

Guitar (SR): Chuga riffing when you aren't snapping strings.

Bass: Nice work - vox are completely lost though

Vox: Some great bits, but often lacking diaphragm support & weak diction - means lyrics are lost. Tuning often a little off. Growls OK actually, channeling those White-Gluz vibes.

Professionalism - 3

Your kick is still a kick and your hats are still hats - they don't need testing. Pity about the immediate string snap but you let it fluster you and I could feel it from the whole band - bring a spare guitar in the correct tuning if you know you pick hard.

Everyone's back on board when issues are fixed. Lots of feedback - maybe due to guitar issues.

Rest of set ok, & early guitar fuckups not so bad in hindsight.

Songwriting - 2

Song 1: Sloppy pedal work to start - bin this. Great sound wall when you actually come in through. Ropey transition into verse.

Song 2: Unfortunately forgettable.

Song 3: Nice opening riff - chunky, but mroe ropey transitions. You might have nicked a Nickelback riff in this one... LOL solo ending.

Creativity - 2

Pretty run of the mill, middle of the road melodeath, through not done awfully. Lyrics & vocal lines need much more work to bring in line with the rest of the band. It's hard to write good lyrics (trust me - I know), but collaborate between members & good shit will come through.

Stage Presence - 3.5

SR guitar is giving if but bass & SR guitar owe me a lot more. Front is occasionally into the performance, but mostly nervous. Bit more bears (?) given in the rapped sections, and nice faces.

Overall - 14

IF you haven't gathered - this is my jam. Some good stuff in the works here, but definite issues to tighten up on. Keep working at it, and I'll be starting your mosh pits myself next time around. Better than my first band in our first BOTB, and we made the final the next year.

Rank - 3

Artist: Knight Owls

Musicianship/Skill - 2

Drums: Tempo is very weak - flopping around like a soggy chicken nugget.

SG: Competent, eyes locked on the neck shows off your insecurity in your playing. Solo work is solid though.

Les Paul: Strummy

Vox: Standout by a long way - excellent tone & love the style you've put together. Keys are superfluous.

Bass: Rooty. Backing vox support lead well.

Professionalism - 3

Doesn't go so well as a band I'm afraid gents - your front is so much more professional than the rest that the band as a whole is hugely overshadowed. No significant issues, but there's work across the board in working together as a band.

Hand clapping is hard when the tempo is so sketchy and crowd gets lost. Shy at 12:48.

Songwriting - 2.5

Song 1: Very solid opening - pity it dropped off immediately after. DIdn't end.

Song 2: Melody is dull, but vox are far more interesting.

Slow song: Nice, generally. Stops are slick.

Song 4: As song 2.

Creativity - 2

Indy gubbins - nothing particularly special to bring to the table, but little to directly complain about. A bit dull.

Stage Presence - 3

Front is so standout here - nice to see some real crows engagement.

Sadly though - this makes the rest of the band come across as headlight rabbits. Much more confident when you hit song 2 - yeah get in the fucking crowd! Fronts' chops have the crowd well involved throughout.

Overall - 12.5

Your fornt is too good for the rest of hte band I'm afraid. However, if you tighten up the timing behind the kit, I think most of the issues should fall into place, and there's some decent stuff buried in here somewhere.

Rank - 4

Artist: Elizabeth Penwill

Musicianship/Skill - 3

Tuning is a little sketchy at times, but I quite like your tone, and at times vox are excellent.

Guitar: Backgrounds at best. Buzzy chords detract at times from your vocal work.

Professionalism - 1.5

"I'm not good with words" - so start with the music no the words. Rehearse what you wish to say in advance to bin the awkward, and cut the in-jokes, they do you no justice at all. Off fine, and 13:41 is OK, maybe a little short.

Songwriting - 2

Song 1: Good riddance... Nice lyrics over the Green day guitars though

Song 2: More of the same, though less directly stolen from 1997

Song 3: SOS about yo (?) Nice and sadness. Fell apart a bit when you started playing notes towards the end.

Creativity - 1

A classic case of the singer-songwriter who has put a huge amount of effort into the vocal lines and lyrics, and basically none at all into the guitar line. Spice everything up by putting more into your guitar work, maybe get a loop pedal and be great.

Stage Presence - 3

You're holding the audience appropriately, which is all I can really ask of a singer-songwriter. Awkward banter, but fairly endearing. You've lost a few at the back to their conversations by the end, which doesn't speak wonders about your long-term appeal.

Overall - 10.5

Pleasant, mildly amusing at times, but write songs as opposed to vocal melodies with chords.

Rank - 5

Artist: Tamarack

Musicianship/Skill - 5

Drums: Really nice - some interesting shit back there and well held off-beats

Guitar: Some really complex playing in there, but kept subtle.

Bass: Slaying the 5-string. Nice tone and lovely licks. Fantastic rhythm section interplay.

Keys/Vox: Great work on the keys. Vox are good, but lost in the mix at times.

Professionalism - 4

Insta-tight. Excellent start. This continues throughout the set, despite a high difficulty level. Nice control as a band of dynamic and temporal variance. Not quite at a "professional level" but very very close - I'd book you for a gig.


Songwriting - 4

Song 1: Cool as fuck - riffs are well linked and builds and drops really well.

Song 2: Musically lovely, though falling into the trap of forgettable lyrics.

Song 3: Cool. Fabulous bass work in the central motif. Love this one actually - really standout work.

Creativity - 4.5

Novel proggery. Not usually up my street but I like this a lot. Could add some riffing around within riffs to mix it up and keep it constantly fresh, but it's a minor gripe. Tenacious D got serious and wrote some real songs - it works.

Stage Presence - 3.5

Comes across as well practiced, you've got plenty of experience onstage as a band and it shows. Performance could arguably have benefitted from more interaction with the crowd between and during songs, but it's pretty slick.

Overall - 21

Stopped writing towards the end just to enjoy the music - you completely won me over on the final song.

From the reception you got from the crowd you won them too.


Rank - 2


1st - Haystack

2nd - Tamarack

3rd - Incarnal

4th - Knight Owls

5th - Elizabeth Penwill

Posted 27 Jan 2018, 9:26 p.m.


Artist: Haystack

Musicianship/Skill - 3

Lead Guitar: bends often out of tune.

Mando: inaudible (in 1st song)

Violin: watch the intonation

Drums & bass lock together nicely.

Overall solid but lots of intonation issues for all

Professionalism - 3.5

I think the monitory must have been an issue for violin, the intonation was really off.

Straight faces throughout!

On time.

Accents maintained.

Songwriting - 2.5

'Break up in a barn' - very touching.

Run of the mill, but you've observed the genre.

Overcrowded arrangements, losing a lot of it in the mix.

Creativity - 1

Negative creativity.

But also, the idea to do this at all??

Creativity in the piss-take.

Stage Presence - 4

Good shit, attention to detail...

Overall - 14

Serious commitment

Is this racist???

Honestly I would classify this as performance art more than a band.

Rank - 1

Artist: Incarnal

Musicianship/Skill - 3.5

Drums: tight kick work, great tone

SL guitar: chops alert, bit loose

SR guitar: well played

Bass: Tight, vox not adding much.

Vox: LIke the shouty parts but not the growly, technique to work on there.

Professionalism - 2

Don't line check the drums...(later) shut up!

Vox feedback - stage volume too high/singing too quiet?

SR guitar: whatever went wrong, well dealt with.

Both guitars a bit loud I reckon. Are you going for the 80s tones? Not sure it works.

Very short set.


Songwriting - 3

Dynamics! If it' all heavy then none of it is heavy.

Quite repetitive structures, try to develop riffs more.

Lots of scope for more interesting rhythmic ideas, you all have true skills to execute.

Creativity - 1.5

Killswitch Engage want their riffs back.

Actually, they want all of it back.

Stage Presence - 2

Not particularly engaged w/ crowd.

Overall - 12

Rank - 4

Artist: Knight Owls

Musicianship/Skill - 2

Drummer letting the side down here, tempo all over the place, inappropriate beats, trail! You need to drive the band! Second song better.

Great Vox.

Bass tight and unflashy.

SR guitar top notch.

SL guitar bit untidy.

Moments where it gels are great, but does need work and drummer needs a metronome.

Professionalism - 2.5


Some vocal cracks, other messy moments.

Short set.

Songwriting - 3.5

Some really nice ideas, I like the vocal harms.

Lead vox very dynamic which keeps it interesting, others could contribute more to variation.

Last song great!

Creativity - 2

Nothing that stood out.

Stage Presence - 3

"Ladies & Gentlemen"

Frontman doing all the work, but he's doing a lot of work.

Overall - 13

Rank - 3

Artist: Elizabeth Penwill

Musicianship/Skill - 1

Guitar: Perfunctory, minimal effort

Vocals: Occasionally gets a bit waily and intonation problems abound

Professionalism - 2

Nervous bants!

Songwriting - 1

1st song quite static, generic progression.

It's easier to jazz up a straightforward song with a full band, on your own you have to add more intrinsic interset other songs similar.

Creativity - 0

Stage Presence - 1

Difficult to achieve alone, usually comes from charisma or a gimmick. Not getting much.

Overall - 5

It's hard to stand out as a singer/songwriter, but you're really bringing the bare minimum here. Four chords and a melody *can* make amazing songs, but it usually doesn't.

Rank - 5

Artist: Tamarack

Musicianship/Skill - 3.5

Vox: Good stuff

Keys: suitably prog

Guitar: little heavy-handed for the style

Many-stringed dad guitar: Maybe doing too much, details get lost

Drums: Largely good, sometimes you tense up

Professionalism - 3.5

No complaints, but not 'pro'

So much chorus.

Where is the flute solo???

Lol lead

Songwriting - 2.5

Spacey organ chords invite the rest of the 70s prog entourage, but they never really arrive.

Gets a bit "haunted house" at times.

Creativity - 2

Maybe sticking to 4/4 counts as creative here?

Well-trodden ground - antithetic to the style?

Stage Presence - 2.5

Bassist looks the part.

Overall - 14

Smelled good from here, my nose approves.

Rank - 1


1st - Tamarack/Haystack

3rd - Knight Owls

4th - Incarnal

5th - Elizabeth Penwill

Total Scores:

1st Haystack (1+1.5+2, judge deliberation)

2nd Tamarack (1+1.5+2)

3rd Incarnal (3+4+3)

4th Knight Owls (4+3+4)

5th Elizabeth Penwill (5+5+5)

Posted 27 Jan 2018, 10:44 p.m.

Tim says:

Is this racist???

Hmm, solid query...

Posted 28 Jan 2018, 11:55 a.m.

Adam, in your Haystack scoring, shouldn't the total be 22.5 rather than 21.5 based on your category scores? This would mean that Haystack would've won even without the cable silliness from Tamarack (assuming same result from judges' decision).

Posted 28 Jan 2018, 2:55 p.m.

Yes, it would look that way Eric! Two possible solutions: 1. there's a typo on one of my scores above; or 2. I cannot add. While I agree the latter may well be likely, I do recall triple checking my addition given the specific situation so it might be worth checking the original sheets. At least it doesn't switch any results, but it does make it all far less exciting...

Posted 28 Jan 2018, 4:20 p.m.

Oops, that would be my fault! Typed creativity as 4 instead of 3. Adam can indeed do basic mental arithmetic, but I never learnt to read

Posted 29 Jan 2018, 7:53 a.m.

Callum said:

Oops, that would be my fault! Typed creativity as 4 instead of 3. Adam can indeed do basic mental arithmetic, but I never learnt to read

Hah! You could definitely have palmed that off as my stupidity :D