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Posted 1 Feb 2019, 3:54 a.m.

Judge: The Thompson

Artist: The Smoking Kills

Musicianship/Skill - 4

Drums: Smashy as shit, great kick work, and a brilliant mix really complement this.

Bass: My pint is vibing all over the table, and that's all you. Rad. Great playing too.

Guitar/Vox: Great power in the vocal melody, though diction isn't great. Guitar work is great.

Everyone is very well locked into each other. Really cool.

Professionalism - 4

Yup, drums are still there... Fuck me - huge sound for a 3-piece, sounds very professional. Occasional guitar feedback is the only hole in this sound wise, but it's not your fault. I'll be honest - I don't remember your set last year, but I'll sure as hell remember this one, it's huge. Pity about all the feedback on the mic, but I'll forgive it and let you blame it on the sound guy. Bang on time.

Songwriting - 4

Song 1: Big intro, big riffs, average vocal melody. Scratch that, vox are great. Breakdown is fucking wild, holy shit.

Song 2: I really wish I could hear the words, but your diction lets you down. It's not as strong as song 1 and it's a bit repetitive, but it's a way better than anything else I've heard tonight.

Song 3: A tad weaker, doesn't feel quite as well put together as the other song. Decent build, but the repeating lyric grates a bit.

Song 4: I'm wishing it was song 1 again if I'm totally honest, but I do like it.

Creativity - 3.5

Getting a bit of a hard-rock Three Doors Down sort of vibe, I like it. Not super new, but very well put together and you've done a lot within the confines of the genre. Could use some better lyrics - great music a good band makes but great lyrics a great band makes. Songs all maybe a bit samey - get some variety in the writing.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 4

Really rocking in the songs, looking like the real deal. Stop cupping the mic during between banter - it's feeding back something chronic. Actually, bin all of the between banter, or get much better at but, it's a detriment to the rest of the set.

Overall - 19.5/25

I really loved this - the latter 3 songs didn't quite live up to the first, but they were all very good. Work on the lyrics and the diction, but I very much want to hear this again.

Rank: 1st


Judge: The Thompson

Artist: Forester

Musicianship/Skill - 4

Drums: Straight forward, with a few standout moments in terms of playing. Very very solid thought.

Guitar/Vox/Keys: Vox occasionally excellent, but mostly a bit sketchy. If you're not already having them, a few lessons wouldn't go amiss - it worked for me. Strummy guitars is very basic, keys better.

Bass: Well locked into the kick and playing is on point.

Guitar: Noodley goodness, solid guitar work - firmly in the lead slot.

Professionalism - 2.5

Intro may as well have been in your bedroom too - work on the awkwards. Band is really tight though, and you've clearly put the hours in in the practice room. A bit of on stage tuning, not really handled that well. Where you're let down is the professionalism of the stage show, which still feels very "We're a new band" - don't be a new band, be a great band no-one has heard yet. Significant over-run (-1).

Songwriting - 4

Song 1: A bit of fun. Instrumental section was really nice, but maybe went on a bit long.

Song 2: Lyrically interesting, which is rare around here, though the delivery occasionally slipped. Bass sometimes a bit much, but it's very good.

Song 3: More of the same, but it's a good same. Nice lyrics again, and song flows very well - until vox come back in towards the end, when it falls apart just a little bit.

Creativity - 4

For a singer-songwriter + backing band, this was actually very well developed. Band is really well put together, and I think this should be a permanent arrangement, if it isn't already. Instrumental sections are what made this actually pretty special. Set is nicely constructed, and the rise and gall of the music is a delight.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3

Calm, but appropriately so. Between song engagement is a little lacking, the only way to beat this is loads of live practice - it becomes obvious as you start to lose the crowd after the songs end. They're right back once you're playing through, which is a testament to the quality of the band.

Overall - 17.5/25

I really enjoyed this - it's well written and well rehearsed, and has some lovely ideas. What it definitely needs is gig experience, so please play all the local shows you can and wow us next year.

Rank: 2nd


Judge: The Thompson

Artist: Tokyo Sexwale

Musicianship/Skill - 3

Drums: A few missed beats in the fills, generally alright elsewise.

Guitar: Tone is a bit gungey, playing is alright, with the odd dropped strum.

Bass: A bit clippy - lock in those picks and make sure to hold down your dynamics so you don't overwhelm the others. Cool licks though.

Vox: Tuning is mostly OK, as is tone, but mic technique and diction is weak.

Professionalism - 3

Awkward bands far an awkward name - just change it. Relatively well rehearsed though, and not a lot of cracks to show. A few squeaky feedbacking between songs - make yourself and stop this. Quality increased as you settled in through the set. Timing great at 14:30.

Songwriting - 2.5

Song 1: Fairly forgettable affair until the middle 8 - this was a bit cooler.

Song 2: Better - cool riff work, but often lost under over-powered drums. Lyrics still forgettable/inaudible.

Song 3: More of the same. Riff work is a bit more interesting. Ropey transition into lone guitar work. Cooooool build at the end.

Creativity - 3

More or less down the line in terms of creativity, nothing of particular significance to set you out from the crowd if I'm totally honest. Song construction and flow is alright though, and the sound is fairly well developed. Set is also well constructed and the proggier end worked surprisingly well.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3

Rockin, a bit. Guitar and vox are jamming, bus bass is a tad over-focussed on playing. A fair bit of naval gazing from guitars and drums - make some eye contact and have some fun. Front leads relatively competently.

Overall - 14.5/25

Solid, in general, and your score reflects this. Very little in the way of the special sauce needed to set you apart from the assembled masses of competent bands though. Work o the spice though, and this could be special!

Rank: 3rd


Judge: The Thompson

Artist: FILD

Musicianship/Skill - 2.5

Vox: Tuning is mic and I like the tone, very R&B. Delivery occasionally a touch weak, but not often. Diction good, as is mic technique.

Guitar: Timing with your backing ok, but when you come in you drown out the backing and your vox, which means the backing totally gets drowned out. Stinks out a bad soundcheck, so this is your point to work on. Poor soloing.

Professionalism - 1

Wobbled on, felt very amateur for the following 15 minutes. More comfortable in French - don't be afraid to write all your songs in your native language, it certainly adds to the professionalism. Not a huge amount more I can say, other than that further practice is required. Faded off.

Songwriting - 1

Song 1: Fun, but forgettable.

Song 2: Well, I won't forget "Pussy pussy pussy", that's for sure. Unless it was "push, push, push", but I still won't forget it. Didn't go anywhere.

Song 3: Vocals not really prepared to deliver the song you've written - fell apart a bit. Solo very much out of place.

Song 4: Queen cover, basically, but interesting en Français. Literally went nowhere, felt very unfinished - filling time?

Creativity - 2

Given the potential you provide yourself by using a backing track, this doesn't go far enough - the backing is often washed out and doesn't add anywhere near as much as it could. It's better than you on your own, but not by a lot. Sound is relatively novel, but a bit thin - I really felt you could have done a lot more with this.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 1.5

Very restrained, and awkward in appearance, you don't look comfortable on stage at all and need to relax into it. lay lots of gigs and get friendly with your audience - there's only so far you can get practicing in your bedroom, and nothing will prepare you for the live experience but live practice. Awkward crowd clapping.

Overall - 8/25

Left me very much wanting more, but not in a good way. Songs and sound need some more development, but there was certainly the scope for something cool in there with some more months in the bed writing room.

Rank: 4th

Posted 1 Feb 2019, 5:33 a.m.

Judge: The Botch

Artist: The Smoking Kills

Musicianship/Skill - 4.5

I fucking love your tone. It's balls to the wall Royal Blood and unforgiving. Guitar riffage leads the way and its a powerhouse. Bass plays with conviction and the tone is meaty - solid rhythm section with the drums. Drums are spot on adding the right accompaniment throughout. Vocals are fucking wow - great placement on the mic and confident delivery - great job. There are a few slips with the rhythm section but so subtle.

Professionalism - 3.5

There's a feeling of - "fuck I don't know what to say - ask if everyone's having a good time". I don't think you need to entertain the crowd with words - just destroy the set and own your songs. Overall the set was very tight - a little loose in the 3rd song but forgivable - on/off no problems.

Songwriting - 3

Your songs don't mess around and they stick to conventional song patterns. It all starts to come apart during the third song - the lack of dynamics is noticeable and the chorus just overplays its welcome. Saved by the last song - really good chorus that does a little more. You stick to good ol' riff chorus riff and that's not wrong - in fact I want to hear more.

Creativity - 2.5

Three Doors Down, Seether, and everything in between. Solid songs lift it out of mediocrity. Contemporaries are Royal Blood cause that guitar and bass tone is tasty! That said there isn't anything going for the sound - but wow do the vocals carry you consistently. Great riffage - so will score for that at least.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3

Easy to see a well practiced band own a stage when you're so relaxed. But why oh why is the bassist wearing sunglasses and a zipped up leather jacket. You're right I'm gonna waste my time calling out that shit cause it looks stupid as fuck. You're better than that!

Overall - 16.5/25

The Nickelback of BandSoc - I hate you but would secretly listen to you when picking out furniture.

Rank: 1st


Judge: The Botch

Artist: Forester

Musicianship/Skill - 3.5

Great rhythmic patterns from the drums really lift the band - great interplay with the bass. This is what I like to see - dynamics and a little thought to the overall sound. Singer's guitar suffers with lack of compression - you could bring out the lead guitar parts more that way. Other guitar choose her moments well - but could smoothen out the tone with more reverb and delay. Bass does a really good job to bring the anchor to the band - solid locking with the kick at all the right moments - and holding the rhythm throughout.

Professionalism - 1

The set starts off strong - but you gradually let the tightness run away from you by the end of the set. On/off no problems but you overplayed by 1 minute so be careful of that. Some more practice to watch the timing issues and more confidence would do you so well. 

Songwriting - 4

Really really like the honesty portrayed through the vocals - good selection of rhythmic hooks ad interesting verses throughout. Songwriting is like poetry with the music telling the rest of the story - very well done and you break from typical verse chorus verse chorus this way. You end the set with your most traditional song which really is crafted well - good transitions between sections.

Creativity - 4

I can tell there's no rush to play and what you do play does add to the sound. Great interplay with vocals and music - off beats are so nice to hear - it's like you hook the ear and every line is incomplete and resolves in the next bar despite the standard time signatures. I want more lead guitar cutting through and more eq on rhythm guitar.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 2.5

It feels a little greenfly - singer is a little too earnest in between songs that it's a little off-putting. Own the set! Show you're proud of the songs - don't say it! Singer carries the dreamlike indie feel well - eyes open and looking up off into space. Great. Lead guitar feels a little hidden from the rest of the band.

Overall - 15/25

Play with a little more confidence and have a little more unity on show. Really like the songwriting - definitely keep writing and develop more.

Rank: 2nd


Judge: The Botch is Back

Artist: Tokyo Sexwale

Musicianship/Skill - 3

Everything seems to be pretty slick with your sound at first glance, but then the cracks appear with persistent pacing issues driven by a lack of unity between the drums and guitar. Bass plays with confidence though does sometimes play out of sync with the kick. The guitar tone is just so muddy it becomes difficult to make out the dynamics - slap some more eq and find a sound/tone to really compliment the full sound. Vocals are great but occasionally suffer a couple pitching issues due to the monitors. I think your vocals were limited by the songwriting so I know you've got way more potential. I think more work from the rhythm guitar could support and add a little breathing room to the overall sound.

Professionalism - 3

You play relatively tight - but it starts to come apart during the verses. Where I want to hear vocals is drowned out by the rest of the mix. I feel the backing vocals could be more utilised to give support and fill the sound. Banter in between is pretty solid - but don't doubt yourself - own what you're saying! Great set length and on and off with no issues.

Songwriting - 2

Your first song has some jarring transitions - particularly with the chorus - despite it being the best part of the song. The bass breakdown was very out of place and rather self-serving than to the benefit of the song. Second song is much stronger - a more thought-out song structure - even if indie! Third song just has no plan by the time it reaches the bridge - falling back on the bass solo just seemed out of place - chorus is there - but needs more during verses and bridges.

Creativity - 2.5

Garage band - tried and true. I'd love for you to introduce more dynamics to really craft a more polished sound. If you are going to create a wall of sound - fucking go for it. Unfortunately this seemed a little half-hearted. Musically I like what you tried with giving the bass some more - but dynamically it didn't come together. Bass could've done without that envelope filter.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3.5

I'll admit you guys look cool onstage -you carry yourselves easily on stage and very much in line with the music you play. Solid transitions between songs mask any thoughts I had of nerves. You seemed like you enjoyed yourselves, but with a little more practice I think you'd relax into the set a little more!

Overall - 14/25

You guys have SO much potential - revisit the songs and elevate the verses to match the choruses and develop the hooks to give the vocals a wider range.

Rank: 3rd


Judge: The Botch

Artist: Fild

Musicianship/Skill - 1

Vocals are a little breathy leading to a fair few flat notes - hard to pull off for sure. Good use of backing to add more to the set - just fails to add rhythmic dynamics as the drum beat is so one note. Falls out of time regularly - more tightening needed. Guitar, when played, is out of time and holds back the set.

Professionalism - 2

A very understated performance - poor vocals limit the potential of using the backing track. Over-excited when playing guitar - drastically loses time with the backing track. Jarring stops and starts in songs fail to impress.

Songwriting - 2

Very interesting use of vocal melodies i.e. not the best. Melodies feel rather flat and underdelivered. Hooks utilise a lot of minor intervals and just clash with the more harmonic music behind it. Fair play with the french rapping but here again it clashes with the lack of dynamics of the backing track.

Creativity - 1

Good thought in putting the backing track together to help supplement the sound - but the lack of variation punishes the set as a whole. When you introduce the live drums - things start to click together!

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 2.5

You do well to hold your own at the end of the night - the backing track does a lot to create the right atmosphere. Eyes are looking down - so do try to engage with the crowd more.

Find a band man.

Overall - 8.5/25

I've been told you're a much better guitarist - maybe highlight that more with the rapping?

Rank: 4th

Posted 1 Feb 2019, 6:16 a.m.

Judge: The Will

Artist: The Smoking Kills (You?) (Have you started the smoking) (The smoking (sign?) kills?)

Musicianship/Skill - 4

Vox: Massive rock voice - he just roars tunes out. Love it.

Bass: I like the crunch on the bass tone, sets you apart and fills it out. Largely just following guitar - but works for the genre. Chords in the third song work (just).

Drums: Nice groove but there is a discrepancy between hard bass hits and softer snare hits, whack it!

Guitar: Nice combo of punishing riffs and sustained harmony. Good!! Cause this genre falls down when it becomes a riff collection.

Professionalism - 3

Banter falls flat but it doesn't matter because of that voice.

I think the professionalism comes across in how well their sound knits together. They move a one and it is a really unified sound that knows where it wants to go.

Songwriting - 3.5

1st song: I mean it is mainly a simple but extensive riff. The crowd are devouring. Vocal melodies add an admirable complexity to make it enjoyable to listen to.

2nd song: Can't remember - but was pretty good.

3rd song (romantic song): Nice change in gear. Guitar work in the verse sparkles ad vocal melody well though out. Rhythm section tight throughout.

4th song: Coolest riff so far but wasn't mad on the structure, strong ending, crowd well into this.

Creativity - 3

Just a good example of a solid rock band. I think trying to be creative at this point would be missing the point a bit.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3.5

Really into it. Stomping around. Guitarist takes his (lovely) guitar off, rock and roll man! Extra points for bassist dramatically obscuring his vision to look cool. Pulling them off! (you may have to yet).

Overall - 17/25

A solid, engaging rock band that know what they are and execute with flair. The voice is really special here though. Takes it to the next level. I'm not a fan of the genre but that vocal performance was special.

Rank: 1st


Judge: Will

Artist: Tøkyo Sexwale

Musicianship/Skill - 3

Guitar: Roaring tone! But the parts are quite chordy - you could spice this up with more lead transitions into chords.

Bass: You could definitely improve your playing technique. That said some well written fills in use. Interesting multifinger technique. I like the ambition of it but it is slightly out of time and could have more consistency.

Vox: At her best when using vibrato. I think you could improve your diction though.

Drums: Nicely minimal, fills in the right places.

Professionalism - 3

Guitarist stepped on lead. it's a bit awkward between songs but I feel like you are going for that offset charm. It would come off better if the non-speaking members didn't feel like they were waiting to play again.

Songwriting - 3

I liked the second song best. The vocal melodies were most memorable in this one. I got the impression that you wrote all of the parts separately. Now this might sound strange, but I mean that there aren't really any stops or interplay between different sections. I think your songwriting could benefit from this sort of coordination.

Creativity - 2

Doesn't push any boundaries to score well here for me. It is indie rock performed solidly. It seems like you need a lead guitarist or keyboardist. I want more collisions between parts. Kudos to the bass solo, I liked that and it added some spice.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3

Again a little awkward. You could have done with a little more flair in this sense. Guitarist, I believe your parts were simple enough to warrant more visual indications of performance immersion.

Overall - 14/25

Was a fish and chips of an opening; solid, enjoyable but a bit unremarkable. I need more salt, and serve that too. (not the band please).

Rank: 2nd


Judge: Last Will and Testicle

Artist: FILD

Musicianship/Skill - 3

I like your voice, with a modern and reedy quality to it. 3rd song is not delivered as well.

Slightly out with the backing track at the start.

Guitar has that nice street tanginess to it that underpins a confident guitar performance. A mixture of chords and picked sections - cool guitar solo - TOANS for days.

Professionalism - 3

Slight feedback after first song very well dealt with.

Deals with backing being too quiet by signalling to the sound guy very well.

I think if you are going to rely on a backing track to this extent, you need to invest in a professionally produced backing track.

Songwriting - 2.5

So I am a strong advocate of backing tracks, but I don't think you quite have it spot on here. We could do with a percussionist on stage to give that textural variety. there's too much on the backing. What is on the backing is sufficiently interesting to justify its inclusion but it doesn't add the glitz it should.

Creativity - 3

I think creativity in any sense comes from combinations. And at its best this performance is creative. When the guitar shines through and there is fuzz ad texture from the backing. The raps are different but don't add anything creatively for me. This lounge/synth genre is more creative with well put together chords and thoughtful melodies but I'm not sure this happens quite enough.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 2

Encourages crowd participation but I think you surprised yourself by doing it. You look hocked when everyone enthusiastically joins in - they want to get involved, revel in it. Last song was a bit odd.

Overall - 13.5/25

A slightly dysfunctional patchwork of a performance. Some nice moments, mainly voice and guitar related. The French was a nice extra flavour but I think there needs to be a line-up adjustment for this to work more convincingly.

Rank: 3rd


Judge: Will

Artist: Forester

Musicianship/Skill - 2

Drums: A touch hesitant, you appear to enjoy playing some sections more than others.

Vox: There are a few issues here that could be fixed if you delivered with a bit more conviction.

Bass: Fills low end tastefully - nice fills in second song.

Guitar: Nicely put together lead in first song but one string is out of tune - must be G.

Professionalism - 2

Savage intro.

-I like trees too!

You're proud of your tune, good for you. I think you just need to play a few more shows. You're very isolated up here and it doesn't scream pro.

-One of the guitars is a bit bassy.

-Overran!!

Songwriting - 3

Intro to second song has a really nice chord progression but then kind of labours as it goes on. Then whack a slice of reggae - cool but lacks consistency. Like there’s no reason why. It could be justified with more development but it's forgotten about in the context of the tune.

Creativity - 2

Use of keyboard and rap in second song help you here. Whilst it's not breaking musical ground, it's more of an attempt to be distinctive within the genre. Unfortunately the performance lets it down. You need to deliver.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 1

You really need to do more here. It's all so conscious.

I don't get the impression that you are particularly enjoying it.

Overall - 10/25

There are some nice moments of harmony and melody that fall flat because the delivery doesn't have enough conviction. The guitarist full on bails on a lick which is a no no for me. But you smirk and carry on so kudos for that.

Rank: 4th

Posted 1 Feb 2019, 6:20 a.m.

Final Scores


1st The Smoking Kills (1+1+1=3)

2nd Forester (2+2+4=8)

3rd Tøkyo Sexwale (3+3+2=8)

4th Fild (4+4+3=11)


Tiebreak between 2nd and 3rd was decided via judges' decision.

Posted 1 Feb 2019, 8:49 a.m.

The Nickelback of BandSoc - I hate you but would secretly listen to you when picking out furniture.

Yes Botch, so much yes :'D Also, doubling up on the undiscussed Three Doors Down reference, omg we're so in sync xoxo

Posted 1 Feb 2019, 9:19 a.m.

Also, big props to Captain Neil for getting those comments up so fast, yet again!

Posted 1 Feb 2019, 10:46 a.m.

Botch said:

The Nickelback of BandSoc - I hate you but would secretly listen to you when picking out furniture.

Dan never won botb... until now.

Posted 1 Feb 2019, noon

Dan never won botb... until now.

Nailed it

Posted 1 Feb 2019, 1:11 p.m.

Solid write up of the comments Neil! I remember the days it'd be the night before the next heat when comments would be up! haha - maybe that was just Carter's lengthy prose.

Thanks Carlotta... I knew i'd make it someday

Jeez Thompson, stop being such a fan girl - you've already earned your seat at the table ;) 

Posted 1 Feb 2019, 1:12 p.m.

What was Will smoking placing Forester in 4th?