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Posted 9 Mar 2018, 2:41 a.m.

Judge: Adam

Artist: Tamarack

Musicianship / Skill - 4.5

Very tight unit. Every man has a job. Every man does his job well.

Vocals: Very Geddy Lee. But less accomplished obviously. Rough in patches.

Guitarist: Very accomplished, and more importantly tight. Solos are executed well and tastefully.

Keys: Truly the lead instrument in this band, orchestrating the others and the ebbs and flows of the songs. Beautifully done.

Drums: Not overly flashy, but some excellent fills keep you interested.

Professionalism - 3.5

Sound problems aren't your fault, but just explain to the crowd what's going on. An honest problem, but failure to deal with it detracted from your set.

Really come into your own as the set progresses, and look very comfortable up there. Playing semi has given you extra practice time which I suspect is why this is so tight. Very impressed.

Songwriting - 4.5

Some really accomplished and interesting songwriting on show here. Excellent handle of dynamics/shifts to keep you engaged. "Summer" will be stuck with me for days, damn you! Abrupt stop in final song blew me away. So well crafted.

Creativity - 4

A joyous blend of classic rock, hints of jazz. A big dose of prog. Beautifully blended in an original and captivating way. Funky monkey.

Stage Presence - 3

The most impactful presence on the stage is the bassist's hair. Please move a bit gents...I know it's not a pre-requisite of this style, but the audience needs something to connect with. A focal point.

A side note, but buy the lighting guy a beer. Glorious stuff. Your confidence boosted your points here.

Overall - 19.5

If I shaved you all, I could weave the equivalent of 2 primarks. You glorious hairy bastards.

A fluent and well-constructed journey, played by accomplished musicians who have practiced like hell. A job well done.

Ranking: 1st

Judge: Adam

Artist: Floorboard

Musicianship / Skill - 4

Flute: Really nicely accented the musical environment without dominating.

Trumpet: Overpowering everything, but that's potentially a sound desk issue.

Drums: Love your style man, so chill, yet so tight when required.

Everyone else: You do the basics well without standing out too much. Accomplished, yet understated.

All a tad sloppy in places. Some of the breaks weren't entirely clean cut.

Professionalism - 4

You look so comfortable on the stage, like you've done this hundreds of times before. The crowd interaction is well done. Relaxed, not cheesy like some of your peers this evening. On and off without any issues.

Songwriting - 3.5

All built from the same solid foundations, but each song has its own soul and character which prevents me getting bored at any point. I wasn't in any way disappointed by the lack of vocals. The flute and trumpet fill that space excellently, providing the vocal qualities.

Creativity - 2.5

Not breaking any well-trodden genre codes, but the flute provides enough character to give it a fresh feeling. This will never be your strongest category, but in the context you do very well.

Porn. Porny porn porno. Starsky? Hutch. Sexy Porn.

Stage Presence - 3

You're not throwing yourselves at the speakers, and that wouldn't be appropriate. What I love to see is that you are all "in" so deep. Everyone is enjoying themselves, and some members genuinely look lost in their own music. Front man does his job excellently with an effortless cool.

Overall - 17

"You play jazz flute?" - "I dabble..." - Ron Burgundy.

Congratulations. You win the "would buy EP" prize of the night. It doesn't count for anything but...well done.

Ranking: 2nd

Judge: Adam

Artist: Pascal & PDF What?

Musicianship / Skill - 3.5

Forget the joke, put that aside. Here we have some very talented musicians masked under their comedy act.

Drummer: Often treads on the edge of falling off beat, but holds it together just about.

Guitar: Very impressed by the finger-picking. Totally Mark Knopfler.

Vocals (Keys): Where did these come from? Phenomenal voice.

Vocals (Lead): I think foreign language rapping might be a BOTB first...Exquisite.

Professionalism - 2.5

-1pt for on-stage selfie.

-1pt for standing around for a good 2 minutes after you take to the stage.

+1pt for triangle.

Off stage quicker than you can say "Spring Week".

Songwriting - 3

Other bands take note. This is how you meld comedy into your act without shitting on the songs.

Undeniably engrossing songs, driven by some lovely keys and tasteful guitars.

Only one song - the saga of Pascal, but it evolves and grows brilliantly.

Creativity - 3.5

Yes. OK. Right. Sure.

Stage Presence - 4

Front man swaying around like Liam Gallagher after a stroke.

Engaged the crowd better than anyone else tonight...maybe because you brought half of them with you.

All of you are having tremendous fun. The crowd are having fun. I'm having fun.

Overall - 16.5

I'm having too much fun to write. Go away.

What is a sex? My wife asks frequently.

Ranking: 3rd

Judge: Adam

Artist: Culture Blood

Musicianship / Skill - 3

Noisy as shit for a 3-piece!

Guitar: You are my homie. Riff machine and your screams are better than most amateur metal acts. Watch the sloppy tapping though.

Bass: Simple but effective. Doesn't add to the musical soundscape, but adds to the wall of noise currently assaulting my face.

Drums: Does his job, but this music needs more fucking OOMPH. More whelly please!

Professionalism - 3

Good, used crowd "banter" without overdoing it. On stage with no fuss or palaver. Within your time limit (thank you!).

Look, I love Futurama as much as the next guy, but fail to see what the visual backdrop is aiming to achieve.

Songwriting - 2.5

Here is my conflict...The components of the songs are good. But they are too sparse, and become repetitive quickly. The crowd have their phones out, which I think proves my point.

Your final song is by far your strongest and had me hooked! More of this please gents!

Creativity - 4

What the fuck am I watching? Song 3, still not sure. Song 4? Still don't know.

Is it Hardcore? Sometimes. I'm beat.

Lovely chaotic use of effects to add to the, yes I'll say it again, noise.

Stage Presence - 2.5

It's not easy being a 3-piece, and it requires extended effort throughout the set to fill the "space" on the stage. You start very well. Climbing on the speakers etc. etc, but it all becomes very static 3 songs in. You need to try to keep the energy up throughout. Spunked your load way too quickly.

Overall - 15

Had to rush to finish this because I didn't write a word for 2 songs.

A wall of raucous noise which started with a bang, but sadly lost its spark in the middle. Some potential here, but needs honing and crafting with an infection of purpose.

Ranking: 4th

Judge: Adam

Artist: Shortwave

Musicianship / Skill - 3

Middle Guitar: Good vocal delivery with powerful blasts. It's not what you're aiming for, but a fair whack of Bruce Dickenson - Robert Plant later in the set! Delicious! Your guitar tone is muddy and that lack of articulation hinders the band from really taking off.

Left Guitar: The stand-out musician of the group. Some nice licks and meaty riffs. 

Bass: Doesn't drop a note, but doesn't try anything ambitious either.

Drums: This is rock music, so please just hit them already! More power would add more heft to your sound.

Professionalism - 3.5

Clearly an experienced band who have done this before. Not daunted by the stage or the reduced crowd.

Mid-set guitar noodle? Please don't guys, this totally detracts. I'd rather hear that great voice not this.

Songwriting - 2

Solo guitar line. Power chords. Belted Chorus. Solo.

This formula gets old quite quickly, even if it is executed well in parts. By the end the songs had all blended into one in my mind.

Creativity - 2

As much as I enjoyed it, I need to be fair here. There is nothing taking you outside of the "hard rock" box. You're happy in your box. Nice box. But could be so much more if you dared to tread outside. Nice Wolfmother, Zeppelin vibes throughout.

Stage Presence - 3

The two guitarists are carrying you in this department, especially the "lead". Covering the stage well and running even whilst mid-solo. I need to see more from the bass player who sticks out like a sore thumb as static.

Overall - 13.5

A proficient band, strengthened by a great lead guitarist and some excellent vocals, but doesn't quite add up to the sum of its parts.

Ranking:  5th

Judge: Adam

Artist: Haystack

Musicianship / Skill - 4

It shouldn't be underestimated how challenging balancing 7 instruments is. And you almost pull it off. Almost. Unfortunately the mandolin is inaudible in the mix. This type of music is driven by the quality of the musicianship, and you guys clearly have chops. The fiddle and slide guitar are particular highlights. Backing vocalist has an exceptional voice, which we don't hear anywhere near enough.

Professionalism - 2

First band of the night, so kudos for getting up there, pulling the crowd to the front, and getting on with it.

Some awkward silences where frankly the comedy falls flat on its arse. It didn't do it for me.

Well well over your time limit, which is inconsiderate for the other bands. 30 mins!

Songwriting - 3

I know its a joke. Clearly. But I am drawn in by the quality of the songwriting. Song 2, where you ramp up the Lynyrd Skynyrd vibes, is really where this comes into its element. The softer songs lose the quality, but still far better than I would expect for something that's supposed to be a "joke". Unfortunately your final song, the lasting impression, is your weakest.

Creativity - 1.5

Let's not kid ourselves, this is nothing we wouldn't hear on a Spotify "Trucker Country" playlist. Quite well done, but not original, and you know it!

Stage Presence - 2

Front man is very static. Hell, the whole band is static, but he still has a magnetism that fills the stage. My eyes are constantly drawn to the fiddle player. It's just a shame the bassist looks like he'd rather be back at the ranch...For 7 people, this category should be your bread and butter...I have time to write my notes and look at the page. That's not a good thing guys.

Overall - 12.5

Needs more banjo. Much more banjo.

I'll be listening to Union Station on the drive back. Thanks for the inspiration!

The quality of the music is actually very high. But for me, the comedy detracts from what could be a great Bluegrass band. Still, a thoroughly enjoyable and raucous start to the proceedings.

Ranking: 6th 

Posted 9 Mar 2018, 3:35 a.m.

Judge: Simon

Artist: Tamarack

Musicianship / Skill - 4

Keyboard: Stands out as very strong, but with a solid backing from the rest of the band.

Huge rolling fills - really liking the rhythm section.

Singing: Could do with more power.

Professionalism - 3.5

Smoothly dealt with sound issues at the start. Pushing that 20 min envelope a little...

Songwriting - 4

Strong opener, really liking the changes. At times self-indulgent (but that comes with the territory). Think some of the overly sugary-sweet keys could do with a change of tone. 

Great instrumental sections and most of all fun! Be careful to make it a little less disjointed...

Some changes seem forced, but overall I'm really impressed.

Creativity - 4

Breaking out of the pentatonic is a good start! Some cool stops and starts. Could try straying into some interesting time signatures.

Stage Presence - 4

Every member getting into it - looks like fun on stage!

Got (a couple) hands and lighters waving in the crowd.

Overall - 19.5

Yes! As in, the band. Fun prog with a good sense of the dramatic, which is admittedly in danger of feeling a little corny.

Sometimes I felt like I was fighting the final boss, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Ranking: 1st

Judge: Simon

Artist: Shortwave

Musicianship / Skill - 4

Vocals: Powerful.

Drums: Powerful.

Guitars: Sick solos, good interplay in general.

Cohesive. Tight. Nice.

Professionalism - 4

Comfortable on stage. OK.

Songwriting - 3.5

Good sense of structure and dynamics, a few sick riffs. Not a fan of that "let it out" part at all. Just fucking around at the start of song 3? I can see what you were trying to do but it didn't land (probably a timing issue).

There's a lot of good stuff here. Maybe it's the vocal melodies holding it back? I take that back after the last song!

Creativity - 3

Not pushing the envelope a huge amount but strong in its genre and with the occasional interesting idea. Last song was good shit!

Stage Presence - 4

Got the audience bouncing and head banging. Clapping too.

I really like how you act on stage without the guitar. Maybe do that more?

Overall - 18.5

Good rock band. Wish that there were a few more memorable riffs, and sometimes there were tantalising hints of something special. Keep at it!

Ranking: 2nd

Judge: Simon

Artist: Culture Blood

Musicianship / Skill - 3.5

Guitar: Ambitious guitar lines aren't quite pulled off a lot of the time - especially the tapping. Timing is also problematic when the guitar is on its own.

Vocals: Nice screams.

Drums: Powerful, drives the songs forward.

Professionalism - 4

On and off no problem, clocking in at under 20 minutes. Take note Haystack!

Songwriting - 3

Beep boop?

Choruses usually hit hard, nice tones on guitar and bass.

Some nice riffs that end up a little overused at times  - especially loud-quiet-loud versions of the same riff.

Lyrics are generally a bit naff.

Creativity - 3

Random clips of Futurama, IASIP and the Simpsons do nothing for the performance and actually hinder it. BoJack too! Why though?

Nice swirling guitar effects.

Stage Presence - 3.5

Guitar moving a lot, which is nice. If you're going to come off stage you have to do more than just mill around.

Would have liked more movement from bassist.

Not really getting the crowd moving much either.

Overall - 17

Little bit too memey for me. We get it, you like TV shows and films, but you are not the Sex Bob-ombs.

There are some good ingredients in this though. A little more thought in the lyrics and some inventiveness in song structure would go a long way.

Ranking: 3rd

Judge: Simon

Artist: Floorboard

Musicianship / Skill - 3.5

Drums: Very tasteful, I'm sure it's trickier than you made it look - stumbles a bit in middle of set.

Sax: Lovely.

Guitar: Very quiet.

Some flubbed notes but generally everyone is playing their part solidly. Got a bit messy in second half.

Professionalism - 3.5

Drum soloing your way just over the 20 minute mark.

Songwriting - 3.5

First song felt like an odd collection of brief snippets without tying them together - not sure that is a good way to open a set.

Bus to spicey bites was going smoothly but seemed to stall for a moment in the middle...

Cop drama theme song from the '80s was fun too.

Some nice catchy moments in there too.

Creativity - 2.5

Very much in its genre, but can't fault some nice melodies. Plenty of tasty improvised solos as well.

Last song shows some glimmers of something a little more interesting.

Stage Presence - 3.5

Many jazz faces to be seen from keys, flute and sax. Bobbing about nicely on stage. Clapping is a bonus.

Overall - 16.5

Suffers due to the scoring system but that's the game. Very pleasant, smooth and jazzy but needs tightening up.

Ranking: 4th

Judge: Simon

Artist: pdf

Musicianship / Skill - 2.5

Pretty shambling and messy.

Boomy bass is a little much.

Keys not bad, second singer is better than first.

Rapping better than singing! Needs to work on breath control.

Guitar stronger playing licks than rhythm.

Professionalism - 3.5

Phones and stuff at the start. A joke?

Under 20 mins.

Songwriting - 2.5

Instrumental way too long and the prop jokes don't quite carry it. Comedy is super incongruous with the music.

Meandering and at times tedious, but with a glimmer of intent. Definitely potential there.

Creativity - 3

Pretty sure I've heard that chorus before. Appreciate the props.

Stage Presence - 4

Lights and clapping is nice, got the crowd on your side.

Prop jokes, movement and a lot of jokey swagger from lead singer do a lot to give this energy.

Talking to crowd jokes work and are pretty funny.

There is nothing less funny than bad comedy. "Much band" please no. Need to trim the unfunny fat because you also clearly can make funny jokes.

Overall - 15.5

Not totally sure what this was.

Who the fuck is Pascal?

Spring week chorus pretty funny.

"Most Warwick band ever" maybe I've been away too long?

Ranking: 5th

Judge: Simon

Artist: Haystack

Musicianship / Skill - 3.5

Competent playing with some occasional timing slips.

Some nice drum fills, fiddle soloing away.

Professionalism - 0

Already well over 20 minutes before the Ballad of Election Day.

Holy shit what a long set - not OK. 30 mins!!!!

Songwriting - 3

Fiddle and guitar soloing at the same time not so great.

Competent song structure, banging "arm America" crescendo. Lots of quiet verses with the mandolin strumming away followed by big chorus. Moody last song made a nice change.

Creativity - 3

Fairly generic pop country but maybe that's the point?

Nice instrumental in last song.

MAGA hat and dungarees are a fun addition. Well done supporting your troops.

Stage Presence - 3.5

Fun stage patter delivered in a suitably corny southern drawl. 

Got the crowd clapping to "arm the teachers". 

Filled up the stage but didn't really feel to cohesive or like you were playing together. Got better as the set went on and you seemed to become more confident on stage.

Overall - 13

This is mostly just one OK joke stretched out over a 30-minute set.

Brave to sing about high school massacres, but I'm not sure you really pulled off making the point. I'm not even sure you had a point.

The horse fucking song was pretty funny though.

Actually I think the comedy improved as the set went on (even though it still felt a little overwrought). Could have trimmed the first and second songs to fit under the 20 min time.

Is that last song heavily inspired by Carolina Drama? Even the milk reference.

Ranking: 6th

Posted 9 Mar 2018, 3:37 a.m.

Judge: Ban Carlotta? (Should've done it years ago)

Artist: Tamarack

Musicianship: 4

Keys: When it’s not super technical, they are executed really well. I feel when it comes to the solos however, it’s bit cheesey and doesn’t make my face melt.

Guitar: Struggling with rhythm – you need to get your Nile Rodgers on. Lead seems more your thing, as you are playing your riffs/solos with what appears to be relative ease.
Bass: is pretty well played but is sadly a bit low in the mix for the most part. The last song has a bass solo which I really appreciated but it’s not quite there in terms of making me smile and go “oh. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”.
Drums: Started a bit ropy but really go into the set in the first and second songs. I feel like in the third you’re tired or you’re not hitting as hard as you should be!

Vocals: Not quite up to par at times but has moments where actually, you’re on point.

Professionalism: 3.5

Odd start – who’s fault was it? Not sure what happened but I don’t think you let it phase you. Sadly, you are three minutes over… when we take into account the mess up, it’s still a tad long. Keep to sets please!

Song writing: 3.5

Song 1: a bit disjointed – vocals sort of appear out of nowhere. What I think is the chorus is sort of stumbled into. I quite like the drop with the bass and the drums syncopation. Drop out of this section has some nice satriani-esque playing (though not the same finesse) and lovely drums. The keys with that Nord whammy bar made me thing of Fraser Bernstein. Fuck you guys.

Song 2: Deep Purple-esque start to this one. Almost a bit of glam rock in what I think is the chorus? Lots of 80’s vibes that I am actually quite enjoying but again, with the hints of the kind of organ you would find in a Doors track. Honestly quite enjoying it – it’s weird but good!

Song 3: You fucking love synths. Vocal style is again like an aspiring Ian Gillen, not quite the range though ;) . Now we are getting some mad Queen vibes. My first “woo’ of the evening.

Song 4: Tasty keys. I was too focused on the writing but I really liked it. Sorry.

Creativity: 4

Prog, Jazz, classic rock in a blender. Genuinely guys – impressed. For some reason at times I also get feels of 70s/80s direct to TV movie themes. Not a bad thing, just what I feel. You haven’t massively invented the genre, but there are certainly elements of your own sound here – most importantly you have a VOICE. It’s mad voice and I would say that at times, it knocks on the door of being disjointed and just a random sea of sections, but you JUST about keep it together and somehow make it work for the most part. Also, your voice is not like Boss Nass from Star Wars: Episode 1 the phantom menace, but instead like when Emperor Palpatine says “Execute order: 66” in Revenge of the Sith.

Stage Presence: 4

You moved around nicely and kept the chit chat minimal, but that’s fine. You really looked comfortable up there!

Overall: 19

A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. As I’ve said, you knock on the door or losing it – reign it in a bit. You risk on just sounding uncohesive and mental. Enjoyable though

Ranking: 1st

Judge: It's fucking Dan Carlotta what have we come to

Artist: Shortwave

Musicianship: 4

Guitars: Well played and tight AF. Lead with long Legolas hair played a sick solo in second song

Bass: Rumbles away in the background and doesn’t really do much else. Welcome back btw ;) Joe was fucking shit at bass and broke my lead so that guy can fuck off.

Drums: Bit off the usual standard

VoX: power and remind me of Led Zeppelin. Clearly cuts through the mix. Minor tuning issues but genuinely really well executed as usual. FUCKING HELL WHEN YOU STOPPED GUITARING YOU BECOME ANOTHER VOCALIST. YOU CHEEKY CUNT.

Professionalism: 4.5

Composed and for me, the most ‘real looking’ band of the night. You really handle yourself well and seem very confident up there. Like the way you dropped the guitar with such ease and you almost seemed to improve.

Songwriting: 4

First one had me nodding along with approval but I can’t remember how it went…

Second – well executed stops and some drums with a lot power behind them. Iron Maiden influences coming through – maybe a little too much.

Third: slown down a bit which is welcome. Like how drums come in – smooth. Picks up and got a bit of a clap going which I was into. Love the triplet repeats. Kind of reminds of Tenacious D… is that bad?
Fourth tune – mate where did those vocals come from?! sick. You should have left the guitar the whole time – not because you can’t play but because it seems to unleash the baboon goblin within you. Like a true Monkey from Mars. This is easily my fav track you’ve done – Led Zeppelin all the way with Deep Purple.

Overall, I like the songs but

Creativity: 2

I think this is called rock? Is it called rock other Barry? Yes it is other Barry. Yeah sorry this is great fun and I enjoy but it’s not pushing the genre in any interesting directions. The minor heavier bits sort of freshen up ‘your’ sound and that’s good. Also as far as bandsoc bands go, you have ‘a sound’ which is no mean feat. I don’t really give a fuck because it’s just well written rock that is good fun to listen to but yeah, it’s derivative.

Stage Presence: 4

Frontman gets into it without the guitar – works really fucking well! Seems natural. Voice is awesome here. Band looks uber comfortable on stage.

Overall: 18.5

I hate rock. It’s course and rough and irritating. And gets everywhere. Not like funk, where everything is smooth….

Anyway, frontman should have focused on just vocals that whole time – I really think you’re a great guitar player but you just got unleashed for that moment you were without a guitar. Really great to see you guys nail it in the final – it hasn’t always gone your way but it really did this evening. Been a pleasure playing with and watching you guys over the years. Will miss you!

Ranking: 2nd

Judge: Italian Dan and the Judging Gang

Artist: Pascal and the PDF Files

Musicianship: 3

Piano: it’s a bit sloppy but does the job

Vocals: Actually annoyingly good. I wish you were in a sick funk band.

Drums: Just about holding it together, watch your timing.

Bass: rumble rumble rumble. Second song – what is this slap – it’s about as accurate as a storm troopers were in the battle of Endor in return of the jedi against the ewoks. IT’S A TRAP. (Haha nice one Dan I love Star Trek too!!!!)

Violin: Just noise but it sort of works – played better as time goes on to be honest!

Triangle: Fuck off. But funny.


Professionalism: 3.5

Hoop spinning. Dicked about at the start but part of the act. Super student and a lack of finesse makes you seem a bit silly at time

Songwriting: 3

Eh Pascal: Started off pretty good but then just has loads of empty sections and it’s a bit boring. I did want to sing pascal. Hoola bit was good.

Song 2: Kind of funky. If it was played well it might actually be good. Everyone gets a solo (pity they are bit bunk but I did laugh).

Song 3: Starts off with a fairly tasty bit of guitar to be honest. Bass is pounding away – groovy and right up my street. Bluesey. Lyrics are awful in this one, but it has the best music.

Song 4: Melodica. MA andare a fanculo con sto rap di merda in Italiano. No pero, aparte gli scherzo non ci si capisce un cazzo, ma davvero questa parte e pure ascoltabile. La musica dietro manca unpo di creativita’ ma sempre divertente. Baci dalla Toscana.

Song 5: What is a sex. Spring week. I never did get one. Rock and punk.

These songs for the most part are well written but they are fucking stupid.

Creativity: 2.5

At the end of the day, none of these songs within their genre are ground breaking. WE have all heard this kind of stuff played a lot, and sadly, also a lot better. BUT, you do bring the humour well at times and it’s strangely current? Can I mark you highly for this.

Stage Presence: 4.5

Crowd absolutely loves you. You love them. Throwing melodica was funny.

Overall: 16.5

This is the worst thing since my sons court appointed lawyer Larry Gruber.

I did laugh. It’s very entertaining. You are actually my favourite act of the night. But you need to play your instruments better if you wanna make this good. I feel like your score is a bit high but that’s how it works out. Keep playing and having fun. But also, get tighter and this will get funnier.

Ranking: 3rd

Judge: Dan "wow I love star wars" Carlotta

Artist: Floorboard

Musicianship: 3.5

Bass: sometimes a bit tardy and a bit dull for the genre –struggles to keep up with drums. I think you need to work a bit on tone – it’s way too bassy with lacking a bit in the top end. As far as bass players go this evening you are in the top tier but you need to up the ante for this genre.

Flute: Ron Burgundy has nothing on you. SO much mahogany. Honestly, very tastefully played. You and drummer are stand outs for me.

Drums: lovely – much improved from last year. You’ve really got some great chops.

Keys: Messy at times, sometimes over stretching. But you really warm into the set and actually started to enjoy your playing, especially in the 4th track.

Trumpet: I feel like you’ve been instrumental in some of the horn section writing from your playing – it’s a compliment. Very commanding and I like what you are trying to do with the syncopation with the bass.

Sax: nice tone – really nice tone actually and well executed for the most part.

Guitar: almost there – needs a bit more work to really get in the pocket. VERY quiet and needs boosting a lot for the riffs – you are barely audible actually.

Guys, I may seem harsh but it’s only because this genre is literally all about being ON IT (I am sure you know this better than me) without missing a single note/beat. I really love what you are trying to do though and It’s genuinely fantastic to see musicians take a stab (pun intended?) at the genre, especially one I adore. Tighten up in rehearsals to really make yourselves all standout.

Professionalism: 3.5

JUST in time – 45 seconds over but we will let you off (well I will). You handle yourselves well – on and off no issues. A few hesitations at one point in the middle of the set.

Songwriting: 3.5

First song: strong tight beat – some other really cool sessions.

Second song: Sax comes in nice and strong. Keys and bass ALMOST NAIL IT – but you can hear when they are out of sync. TO pull this off, it has to be perfect. Horns in general are well executed though it reminds me of A LOT of Chameleon with elements of Stevie Wonder.

Third: love the horn and flute lines here. Really catchy. Bit of a stumble coming out of flute solo. Best track so far, quite liked it.

Fourth: I am pretty sure I was conceived do this music. This is like 1970s cop chase music and porn. Its my new fav. It’s not at all mind blowing but I love this kind of music, no matter how cheesy. Gets a bit repetitive.

Fifth: Great build into trumpet and flute syncopation. Bass gets better here and more like what we want to hear.

At times these songs (bar the funk/70s one) suffer with being repetitive and it’s something you should look at to really bring them alive. Again, I appreciate how hard these sort of songs are to write and I really commend your efforts. Keep working on it, and I am sure next year you can produce some absolute blinders.

Creativity: 2.5

When it comes to the genre, its well trodden and personally, I don’t think you’re trying to do much with it. But I think that is fine for the most part – it’s jazz/funk/fusion and there is only so much you can do with it. I do think you need to work on developing a bit more of your own voice – your songs run the risk of sounding like slightly altered jazz tracks (in particular one sounded outrageously similar to Chameleon/watermelon man) so try to focus on that. It’s great to have influences but avoid wearing them on your sleeve so much if you want to do better in this competition. If however, you don’t give a flying fuck, keep doing what you are doing and have fun.

Stage Presence: 3

Look quite comfortable for the most part. Bit of nerves showing from some members but it doesn’t seem to get in the way of the performance. Flute player, trumpet and bass love the stage and it’s a joy to see. Crowd interaction is good between songs. I think just look a little less nervous and maybe try and get a fully dedicated horn section to fill the stage a bit better (big ask but you should.

Overall: 16

Ahhhhhhhhhh. I did enjoy this guys and honestly you have improved so much from last year even if my scores don’t reflect it. When it comes to instrumental jazz, it really does need to be on point and, for lack of a better word, perfect. Everyone has improved and I’m sure will continue to do so, please keep writing and honing your craft! I do think that this genre suffers at the hands of this accursed score sheet. ALSO TURN UP THE GUITAR A LOT.

Ranking: 4th

Judge: Dan Carnottalottaknowledgeofthisgenre

Artist: Culture Blood

Musicianship: 3

Vocals (bass): My mate Adam “der secretary” Thompson would love to join this band. At times when you’re just sort of talking it’s alright but you’re struggling to keep the tune at times.

Drums: Probably the stand out. Punishing the kit in the first two tunes but you started to go softer in the last part of the set. Solid and holds the band together. Fourth song you started to fall apart.

Guitar: it’s fine in the first song but it’s poorly executed in the second. Tapping is sloppy in second song as well. Riff in the verse of the third song has quite a big noticeable mishap – problem with a three piece is that issues like this stand out like a sore thumb.

Bass: I actually love the tone for this genre. It’s not at all as interesting or as complex as it could be (even for this genre) but it’s played as it needs to be for the songs.

Vocals (guitar): Screams are actually pretty well executed. LET THE HATE FLOW THROUGH YOU. GIVE IN TO YOUR ANGER.

Professionalism: 4

Timing spot on. You talked to the crowd and got some laughs. I can’t really fault you much here. I can’t give you max marks as you don’t look or feel like a pro band.

Songwriting: 2

Song 1: What was that weird beep boop before second verse. You’re a roman? Na mate, my mums Roman and she’d fuck you up. Stop saying I’m a roman. The sections of this song just sort of mash together and it doesn’t sound cohesive at all. I am bored.

Song 2: The chorus and the verse sort of blend together as they are the same riff + chord structure (at least to my ear). I was actually hearing some alright stuff in the verse and then it was just used as the chorus but heavier – meh.

Song 3: By far my favourite so far – for some reason it reminded me of a heavier more dissonant Billy Talent tune. I am sure you are gonna slate me for this as I know fuck all about this kind of music but that’s just what popped into my mind.

Song 4: Chorus has some pretty tasty riffs here and I’m nodding my head along. Vocals work well in this song. The structure is much better in this song as well. HOWEVER – it is pretty clear that you’ve got to practice this one a bit more – some big slip ups from everyone are ruining it.

Issue here is – you have some good sections but they are all too repetitive and need a bit more variety in your song sections to keep my interest.

Creativity: 3.5

It’s got emo, hardcore, industrial elements. IT’s certainly like no other band of it’s type that I’ve heard and I’m not quite sure it’s working yet, but it’s certainly different and maybe with some tweaks you might be on to something.

Stage Presence: 3

Crow is static. Not a great sign. IT’s hard to fill a stage of this size with a three piece and you’re also bound by the mics – so there is only so much you can do to engage - but you’re a little too static (at least until the end and the guitarist started hitting the bassist).

Overall: 15.5

I’m not a big purveyor of this type music, but I do enjoy a good heavier bandsoc band when they come. Gunmen, Nurse Joy (toot the horn!), Mongolian death worm, Gila Monster etc. But I’m sorry to say that I was just bored after each song past the first minute, which is a shame as each song had good sections, but it seems like you weren’t sure what else to do with them. Stick at it and make your songs a bit less repetitive.

Ranking: 5th

Judge: Can Darlotta? (No he can't)

Artist: Haystack

Musicianship: 3.5

Trumpet: National anthem isn’t even bad. Actually, it is – is this intentional?
Frontman: Great accent to be fair. At times I can hear a bit of pearl jam. You stay in tune and are great fun. Great at leading the band.

Drums: tempo issues
Female Vox: Well executed. IN the second song you started to shine a lot more, to the point that I wished that you had a bit more to do! Spoke to soon – enjoyed you in the third song but still not enough. You should probably be the front woman.

Bass: not standing out but I don’t think you’re supposed to be ‘Louis Johnsoning’ this genre. Rumbles nicely in the background. Pretty precise.

Lead guitar: I think you’re a bit out of tune or you’re missing some notes by a semi tone.

Mandolin: I mean – it’s not a serious instrument so I won’t take it seriously. Lol joke – it’s played below standard but I’m strangely glad it was here. I think this is a bandsoc first…

Fiddle/violin: at times it’s fine, other it’s playing the wrong notes and it sticks out.
mandolin Vocalist: pretty flat. Flat as Obi Wan Kenobi’s robe when he gets killed by Darth Vader. Except you haven’t come back more powerful than I ever imagined.

Professionalism: 0.5

Timing is over by quite a bit – a 30 minute long set?! This is not cool – we have a schedule to keep to. YOUSA IN BIG DOO DOO NOW! Other than that, you’re nailing the southern vibe and if you were actually taking this a bit more seriously, tightened up and had lyrics that weren’t obviously a pisstake, you could maybe pull this off. But then again, you aren’t even fucking Americans so why am I writing this?

Songwriting: 3

First song: Had me nodding my head along but it’s also quite stale at times. It’s a shame this song was a bit sloppy when compared to the rest of your set.

Second song: interesting topic… maybe a bit in poor taste – and I’m not really getting the satire. But, traditional balls to the wall country rock with some really southern/swamp vibes. Elements of ZZ top as well – really liked it in terms of the melodies and music just not lyrically.

Third song: Break up in a barn… only one with vocals I can remember. Well structured song – and this is considering you’re not even taking this too seriously. Like the other songs, it’s not at all ground breaking but it’s likable! Good breaks after the quiet section and it does sound quite well rehearsed.

Honky TONK: Bass pounding along. 12 bar. It’s a bit drony but that’s the whole point. Horse to turn me on is also a great lyric.

Song 5: First lyrics were shock humour at it’s finest, and it’s a pretty solid song – but to be honest I was more focusing on writing as I’d had enough (sorry…)

Creativity: 2

For the competition, this is unique as fuck – but from what I saw in the states when it comes to country music, it’s as generic as it comes. And that is absolutely fine as that’s the way it’s supposed to be for this band. I think if they were trying to breathe some new life into this genre, they’d need some other out of place instruments and mad tech skills. Unfortunately, towards the end of the set, I started to get a bit bored in places just because it does get a bit samey and you need that little bit more ‘wow’ factor if this is to be taken seriously.

Stage Presence: 3

What a start. Trump would be proud you fucking cunts. Bit stationary in the first song. Clap is not working very well for me– pretty good for the first band on. Marching guy in the second song reminded me of Cool 3D world – look it up on Youtube (actually don’t). Frontmans accent is actually solid and I’m enjoying – jokes are landing pretty well with the crowd. HONKY TONK.

Overall: 12

It’s a decent attempt at a parody southern band and I genuinely laughed out loud quite a lot. I did enjoy this and not just for the comedy, but to make this even funnier you’ve got to pull it off a bit more in terms of the musical skill – however, I know you don’t give much of a shit about this – you’re doing this for a laugh and that’s fine.

Ranking: 6th

Posted 9 Mar 2018, 3:39 a.m.

Final Scores

1st: Tamarack (1+1+1=3)

2nd: Shortwave (2+2+5=9)

3rd: Floorboard (2+4+4=10)

4th: Pascal And The PDF Files (3+5+3 = 11)

5th: Culture Blood (4+3+5 = 12)

6th: Haystack (6+6+6 = 18)

Posted 9 Mar 2018, 8:37 a.m.

Hey, thanks again for having me and nice work typing up so fast.

I should have just written "Sex Bob-Omb" instead of "the Sex Bob-Ombs" in Culture Blood's Overall, and it should be "too cohesive" rather than "to cohesive" in Haystack's Stage Presence.

Posted 9 Mar 2018, 9:36 a.m.

Nice to see that someone else thought that last song of Haystack's was Carolina Drama (down to the key). I like to think that it is the solemn alternate reality version of the song. In the original he sings the line "And a drunk temper that was easy to lose but thank god he didn't own a gun". However Haystack's songs are set in the post-"Arm America!" world, so of course he does have a gun in this timeline - the plot of the song now completely diverges to be from the perspective of the murderer. If any of Haystack can confirm this that would be great, and if you can confidently deny this then you can get fucked. 

Also Haystack's scores add up to 12.5 in Adam's comment, not 13.5  (edited)

Posted 9 Mar 2018, 10:40 a.m.

Dan thought ‘Arm America’ was in poor taste but ironically it’s the stance of the US president and a strong majority of Republicans. So technically satire at its best 

Posted 9 Mar 2018, 11:08 a.m.

Dan got triggered by a band lol. 

Interesting that a band in a heat got a 24 and a 25 and came 4th in the final. God bless having different judges.

Posted 9 Mar 2018, 11:25 a.m.

I'm not sure that just stating the political position of some people, no matter how insane it is, really counts as satire.

Posted 9 Mar 2018, 11:30 a.m.

Even if Arm America is satire, it's satire of a political response to tragedy: not of the tragedy itself.