Posted 17 Jan 2020, 4:01 a.m.

Judge: Thompson

Artist: SOHLER

Musicianship/Skill - 5

Drums: I was starting to wonder if it was possible to hit those drums hard enough. Fucking rum punchy

Guitar: Excellent. Tight as something exceedingly rude

Bass: As guitar - very very good

Vox: Great as always, though suffering from lack of monitoring, which is making you over-egg it. Better yn Cmraeg

Professionalism - 4

Pro walk-on, student hats. Looks like a band who won, went away, practiced like fuck and got better. Looks fucking legit, but ditch the gimmicks, you're above it now. That's how you do banter between songs - other bands take note. 15:25 is ok, but don't go any longer

Songwriting - 4

Song 1: Riffs, transitions, breaks, licks - got it all. Pity the lyrics were forgettable

Song 2: As above - a little wanky towards the end, but very strong

Song 3: A bit less exciting & vox overpowered just a touch without the monitors

Creativity - 3.5

Some really slick shit in here - it's nothing wild in terms of genre, but you've really worked hard at crafting each bar & it's always fresh. Set builds & falls as it should. Write better lyrics though - I've seen you do it for other bands, so be better

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 5

Alright boys, that is how you start a set, yes. Bros of swagger know how to hold a stage. I used to feel like you feel back when I was fronting Nurse Joy - that buzz you get when you have complete faith in all your bandmates to be really fucking good - enjoy it, it's rare

Overall - 21.5/25

Yeah fucking smashed it lads 0 did good & got better. Keep it together & have a great time doing it. First ever second-time champs?

Rank: 1st


Judge: Thompson

Artist: Aarya

Musicianship/Skill - 4

Vox are suffering from a lack of monitoring, but you're holding together well in the circumstances. Slightly over-reaching the highs and missing pitch very occasionally on the lows - will give benefit of the doubt for monitoring issue

Guitar work is strum perfect and loop work is flawless. Rap in song 3 is ace

Professionalism - 4

Started a tad lacklustre - not your usual sheen. Much better after 30 secs of settling into it. Crowd singing is a little on the bad side of cringeworthy, but you just about held it. Vocal line you gave the audience was a bit hard for them mind - careful you don't assume they sing as well as you. Wobbled off a bit, 14:30 is good

Songwriting - 3.5

Song 1: It's still a brilliant song...

Song 2: Lovely, intro & guitars are fairly interesting. Lyrically less memorable than London but chorus is better. Nicely structured, but never quite reaches the climax I'm hoping for

Song 3: Piucked up the pace - worked. Lyrically totally forgettable though

Creativity - 3

I'm a touch let down that you haven't brought a lot of new material to the party. New song for second - good. Style wise it's very locked in to the early 2010's singer-songwriter sound, though you've near perfected it. Set is well crafted, definitely ended on an appropriate high

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 4.5

Gets the crowd going straight away - clear command of the room. Very relaxed & it's obvious you're near pro levels on a stage. Totally unphased by larger-than-normal room too, which is great.

Overall - 19/25

Great to see you again Aarya - you know I really enjoy your work. Very high quality but I must say that while you stayed excellent you didn't really improve either - your best song was still London, and given you've been playing it a few years I was a bit let down. Still loved it though - keep smashing it.

Rank: 2nd


Judge: Thompson

Artist: Zemli

Musicianship/Skill - 3

Drums: Mostly in time, some nice fills but occasionally lacking punch

Bass: Solid, if simple. Locked into kick

Guitars: Both mostly competent - can't hear backing vox. SKETCHY SOLO BRO

Vox: Nice on some of the high notes but losing it on the lows

Professionalism - 2.5

Poppy plug in & not making noise makes a weak start. Between-song chatter is a bit apologetic - you need to own the stage. All quite student-indie-band more than it is up-and-coming-local-rockers. Play a whole bunch of gigs and work on the live show. Time on stage good

Songwriting - 2.5

Song 1: Cool opening riff, but the transitions between sections fall down in places. Felt a bit genre confused and vocal lines didn't fit. Do you wanna build a snowman? Didn't end

Song 2: Airy fairy - better put together than song 1, but no more memorable

Song 3: Drastic shift in feel and it's temporally all over the lace. End bit silly

Creativity - 2

All feels a little confused if I'm honest - less genre fusion and more genre juxtaposition , and not in a good way. I think you could focus on those technical india riffs some more, work on structures to build fuller soundscapes, and put some more time into your lyrics - make them memorable

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 2.5

Rooted & inoffensive, with a little bopping from the bassist. Others move occasionally but it's all a tad forces - like we watched a couple of hours of Youtube Glasto clips after a writing session & figured that would do the trick

Overall - 12.5/25

The fundamentals are there, and honestly better than a lot I've seen in BOTB over the years. Songs & playing need tightening, live show needs practice and professionalism needs polish, but generally decent.

Rank: 3rd


Judge: Thompson

Artist: Rattlesnake

Musicianship/Skill: 2.5

Drums: Nice vamping, and just about holding the band together

Bass: More interesting than guitar, but lost in the mix

Guitar: Not strong - don't think you realised you were out of time

Vox: Yo, you've got some fucking pipes. Watch the tuning, but nice and meaty. Maybe a little high in the mix - you're often overpowering the rest of the band

Professionalism - 1

Some issues to start - props to drums for just powering through but not sure I'd say you really dealt with it well. Super out of time when you finally came in. Between-banter is very generic, which makes it hard to connect with the crowd. Set is way over at 16:30. GET OFF THE FUCKING STAGE TEAM

Songwriting - 2

Song 1: All sort of faded in after the issues - bit odd. Just a collection of disconnected sections more than it's a song. Very Sunday-night-jam-at-the-pub

Song 2: Not a song title I'm afraid. Better lyrics. Nice bass breaks

Song 3: Opening riff very similar to one by an old band of mine - lol nice. A little more experimental than others - moving in the right direction

Creativity - 2

Very basic rocky stuff, following an extremely well trodden furrow with a small touch of style. Sound wanders a bit through the set - I'd focus on crafting yourselves a sound of your own & blending some fresh ground spice in there - write songs, throw them away, write more songs, get good

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 2.5

Front is bringing the chops, but little backup from the band and you're looking a tad lonely up there. Bass is rockin actually, if a little politely. Guitar is too engrossed in not fucking up to rock - chill bro, it's cool

Overall - 10/25

You've got the seeds of some cool stuff here, it's just a way off the polish you need to score highly. Don't be disheartened though - everyone has a tough ride first time around and everyone comes back in year 2 and smashes it.

Rank: 4th

Posted 17 Jan 2020, 5:06 a.m.

Judge: Dan Kerr

Artist: SOHLER

Musicianship/Skill - 4

Great vocals. Guitar playing very ? but not obnoxious, which is a challenge. I was going to say the bass was a bit basic but there are some great fills in there. Falsetto is a little weak but it kinda works. Drummer is ? on. Solo was SICK. Vocalist could do with supporting a bit more. The grit towards the end sounded great, but probably hurt a bit!

Professionalism - 3.5

Good walk on and set-up, got into it quick. Shouting out the other bands a good move. V. confident crowd engagement. Story between 3 and 4 fell a little flat. A little slow too ? down and a little overtime.

Songwriting - 4

Songs are put together great, real good flow. Great pacing. Intricacy of the guitar part in the verse of song 3 lost a bit. Djenty song 4 ? impressive! Other section in 4/4 a bit incongruous after that though. Emotional drop in song 4 could have done with coming in on-the-beat rather than off, I feel, for impact.

Creativity - 4

Interesting chop-and-change of time sigs. You've listened to the good Muse albums! It's a combination of modern rock styles with some much heavier influences, but still ?

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 5

Hats! Yeah, super confident on stage, slick engagement with the crowd. 2 hats down by song 3. Gutted. Good, moshable band, great interplay between members. Honestly a very good live band, vocalist leads it well and the members engage a lot.

Overall - 20.5/25

Easily the most polished band of the night and a bloody good watch. Sick.

Rank: 1st


Judge: Dan Kerr

Artist: Aarya

Musicianship/Skill - 4

Great rhythm work!

Really tight use of the looper pedal with the dropouts. Impressive

Good vocal range, powerful voice, nicely idiomatic. Honestly impressed with the right hand speed in song 3. Falsetto was occasionally a bit off in song 3 but without monitoring that's hard

Professionalism - 4

Quick set up, checked levels of everything effectively.

Nice 'to the point' stage chat. Mid-set tunes good, confident with the crowd engagement.

Kept to time, great to see the checking it was turned down before unplugging.

Songwriting - 3

Ending of song 1 was a little out of place, but the hot was GREAT

Bit strange to drop down ? at start of build at the start of song 2 chorus but builds back up to ? section

Okay that 'kick' thump in song 3 is sick. Endings could use some work, either be snappy or do the big ending (the ? is a bit odd)

Creativity - 3

Good crowd involvement in first song. Really does well being engaging just as I ?. I would say the crowd involvement bit in song 2 was a bit stretched but people went for it! GREAT energy in song 3

Overall - 18/25

A solid performance from an established performer. Nothing ground-breaking, but well-executed.

Rank: 2nd


Judge: Dan Kerr

Artist: Zemli

Musicianship/Skill - 3

Vocalist found her pitch quick, not easy to do without monitors. Rhythm playing is very competent and fluent, good interplay between the guitars in song 2. Lead player is more confident in song 2, some really ?. Opportunities for more variation on the bass, quite simple lines. That guitar solo on 2 is out, very out. Drums are solid, backs everything up well, appropriate if fairly straight fills.

Professionalism - 2.5

A little lost-looking on set-up, but got there fairly quickly. Could have been dealt with by the guitar player. Progressed through the set pretty well, to-the-point, introduced the songs which is always good. Took the time to plug in beforehand which is good. Some pops when unplugging, but tore down quick.

Songwriting - 2.5

Song 1 feels a little disjointed in terms of the sections following into each other, however song 2 much stronger. Need to decide on a key for the solo, also maybe a little drive, the clean tone was a bit ice-picky. Bass player much more pushed in song 3, which is good to see.

Creativity - 4

Interesting style! Kind of sounds like Yawning Man, but cleaner. Song 2 was really interesting, a nice mix of trip-hoppy stuff and a little of the softer RHCP. Nice use of harmonies and crunch in song 3. Low vocals in 3 mix it up great, sounds great too. Overall a pretty interesting set.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3

A little static at times, but got into it as the set went on. Quite ? on the crowd. ? but that is a hard thing to get used to, particularly if you're new. Bit of french? Okay, Big Rock Ending always welcome, ?.

Overall - 15/25

A real interesting project! There's some good ideas there, with a bit more polish should be a proper good band.

Rank: 3rd


Judge: Dan Kerr

Artist: Rattlesnake

Musicianship/Skill - 3.5

Vocalist has serious power, well-pitched despite monitoring lack also.

Bass player and guitarist lock in well. Very competent musicians! Not per se flashy but really solid, that's good. Drummer keeps up with the fuddly stuff unsung 3 well. Great variety of guitar styles at play. Vocalist is pretty versatile as well

Professionalism - 1.5

Got there in the end! Not massively well-handled though, but props to the drummer for sticking with it. Moved between songs pretty quickly and not that clearly, a little more demarcation and/or going hard at running them together would be better. Went over in a big way time-wise, also stuck around on stage a long time too. Still on stage after 5 minutes...

Songwriting - 3

Jazzy! Intersting chord choices that work. Always nice to see bass lines not just following the guitar. Thicken up that bass tone my dude, neck pickup is your friend. It's a little weak in the bass-only parts as it is. End of song 2 was pretty abrupt

Creativity - 4

Garage rock, hurrah! I guess that's what you'd call it. Interestingly-done though, good ? songs that flows well. Compound-time can be a bit groan-worthy but 5-6-6-6 is pretty interesting. Song 3 really stands out of the psych-rock set.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 2.5

Bass player is loving it! Good to see. Vocalist really warmed up second song. Guitarist is pretty static, could do with a bit more engagement as well, v. fretboard-focussed. Crowd is with you though! Pretty entertaining ensemble all told, but needs work.

Overall - 14.5/25

Good ideas, some tweaks to the presentation and some more live experience would see you right.

Rank: 4th

Posted 17 Jan 2020, 5:09 a.m.

Final Scores


1st SOHLER (1+1=2)

2nd Aarya (2+2=4)

3rd Zemli (3+3=6)

4th Rattlesnake (4+4=8)

Posted 17 Jan 2020, 5:37 a.m.

Well done to SOHLER and Aarya for making it through!

I couldn't quite make out the handwriting of some of the comments cause I'm half blind (sos) so I've replaced some words with question marks, I'll update them when the judges tell me what they meant to say though (judges, pls message me on facebook with any corrections).

Just a couple of notes for people who weren't there tonight reading these comments (enough people seem to know that I might as well say it on here) - there was a slight 'miscommunication'* with Assembly which led of a lot of issues tonight (namely us having to provide literally every piece of equipment tonight down to monitors and mic stands) so there were a fair few technical issues tonight that will hopefully be sorted out by next week.

My two cents on everything that happened tonight:

SOHLER: Amazing always, you know I love you, but at the same time I'm very angry at Wil for stealing my hat and this will not be tolerated in the future. Deserved winners.

Aarya: Solid, but not much more than that - hard to blow people away with material we've already heard you do a lot, but then again that means I'm already biased. Didn't get to see your new song unfortunately cause I was dealing with the 'miscommunication'* with Assembly.

Zemli: Your last song was fucking sick - apart from that, the ideas were cool and you mainly need more live experience and to keep doing what you're doing I feel. Writ more songs and play more gigs and the sound and stage confidence will come, as with everyone. From what I could gather from speaking to a bunch of people after the heat, you'd get a very decent BandSoc crowd together from playing your own gigs so go for it (also Happy Birthday Oliver!) 

Rattlesnake: You were way better at the winter gig tbh. I think the size of the stage and a lack of experience with gigs where things go wrong (as it did with this heat) hit you hard when compared with more experienced acts like SOHLER and Aarya. You're genuinely one of my favourite newer bands I've seen so far this academic year, you just need to get your live experience in to become more consistent. Drummer - you're clearly very talented, it would be nice to see you lay into the drums - let loose a bit.

Posted 17 Jan 2020, 5:38 a.m.

*read: absolute incompetence

Posted 17 Jan 2020, 8:12 a.m.

Nice one Neil, lighting fast as always. Looks like you read all my writing after all!

One clarifier - when I told Rattlesnake to 'GET OFF THE FUCKING STAGE TEAM', that was because they hung around for ages after set finished and the tear down was snails place - I don't actually hate you.

Posted 22 Jan 2020, 11:47 p.m.

Gods, it's been a while since I've posted on here...

To fill in some of the blanks:

Artist: SOHLER

Musicianship/Skill - 4

Great vocals. Guitar playing very [technical] but not obnoxious, which is a challenge. I was going to say the bass was a bit basic but there are some great fills in there. Falsetto is a little weak but it kinda works. Drummer is ? on. Solo was SICK. Vocalist could do with supporting a bit more. The grit towards the end sounded great, but probably hurt a bit!

Professionalism - 3.5

Good walk on and set-up, got into it quick. Shouting out the other bands a good move. V. confident crowd engagement. Story between 3 and 4 fell a little flat. A little slow too [tear] down and a little overtime.

Songwriting - 4

Songs are put together great, real good flow. Great pacing. Intricacy of the guitar part in the verse of song 3 lost a bit. Djenty song 4 ? impressive! Other section in 4/4 a bit incongruous after that though. Emotional drop in song 4 could have done with coming in on-the-beat rather than off, I feel, for impact.

Creativity - 4

Interesting chop-and-change of time sigs. You've listened to the good Muse albums! It's a combination of modern rock styles with some much heavier influences, but still [groovy]

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 5

Hats! Yeah, super confident on stage, slick engagement with the crowd. 2 hats down by song 3. Gutted. Good, moshable band, great interplay between members. Honestly a very good live band, vocalist leads it well and the members engage a lot.

Overall - 20.5/25

Easily the most polished band of the night and a bloody good watch. Sick.

Rank: 1st

Judge: Dan Kerr

Artist: Aarya

Musicianship/Skill - 4

Great rhythm work!

Really tight use of the looper pedal with the dropouts. Impressive

Good vocal range, powerful voice, nicely idiomatic. Honestly impressed with the right hand speed in song 3. Falsetto was occasionally a bit off in song 3 but without monitoring that's hard

Professionalism - 4

Quick set up, checked levels of everything effectively.

Nice 'to the point' stage chat. Mid-set tunes good, confident with the crowd engagement.

Kept to time, great to see the checking it was turned down before unplugging.

Songwriting - 3

Ending of song 1 was a little out of place, but the hook was GREAT

Bit strange to drop down ? at start of build at the start of song 2 chorus but builds back up to [main] section

Okay that 'kick' thump in song 3 is sick. Endings could use some work, either be snappy or do the big ending (the [halfway-house] is a bit odd)

Creativity - 3

Good crowd involvement in first song. Really does well being engaging just as I ?. I would say the crowd involvement bit in song 2 was a bit stretched but people went for it! GREAT energy in song 3

Overall - 18/25

A solid performance from an established performer. Nothing ground-breaking, but well-executed.

Rank: 2nd

Judge: Dan Kerr

Artist: Zemli

Musicianship/Skill - 3

Vocalist found her pitch quick, not easy to do without monitors. Rhythm playing is very competent and fluent, good interplay between the guitars in song 2. Lead player is more confident in song 2, some really [good licks]. Opportunities for more variation on the bass, quite simple lines. That guitar solo on 2 is out, very out. Drums are solid, backs everything up well, appropriate if fairly straight fills.

Professionalism - 2.5

A little lost-looking on set-up, but got there fairly quickly. Could have been dealt with by the guitar player. Progressed through the set pretty well, to-the-point, introduced the songs which is always good. Took the time to plug in beforehand which is good. Some pops when unplugging, but tore down quick.

Songwriting - 2.5

Song 1 feels a little disjointed in terms of the sections following into each other, however song 2 much stronger. Need to decide on a key for the solo, also maybe a little drive, the clean tone was a bit ice-picky. Bass player much more pushed in song 3, which is good to see.

Creativity - 4

Interesting style! Kind of sounds like Yawning Man, but cleaner. Song 2 was really interesting, a nice mix of trip-hoppy stuff and a little of the softer RHCP. Nice use of harmonies and crunch in song 3. Low vocals in 3 mix it up great, sounds great too. Overall a pretty interesting set.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3

A little static at times, but got into it as the set went on. Quite ? on the crowd. ? but that is a hard thing to get used to, particularly if you're new. Bit of french? Okay, Big Rock Ending always welcome, [of course].

Overall - 15/25

A real interesting project! There's some good ideas there, with a bit more polish should be a proper good band.

Rank: 3rd

Judge: Dan Kerr

Artist: Rattlesnake

Musicianship/Skill - 3.5

Vocalist has serious power, well-pitched despite monitoring lack also.

Bass player and guitarist lock in well. Very competent musicians! Not per se flashy but really solid, that's good. Drummer keeps up with the fiddly stuff on song 3 well. Great variety of guitar styles at play. Vocalist is pretty versatile as well

Professionalism - 1.5

Got there in the end! Not massively well-handled though, but props to the drummer for sticking with it. Moved between songs pretty quickly and not that clearly, a little more demarcation and/or going hard at running them together would be better. Went over in a big way time-wise, also stuck around on stage a long time too. Still on stage after 5 minutes...

Songwriting - 3

Jazzy! Interesting chord choices that work. Always nice to see bass lines not just following the guitar. Thicken up that bass tone my dude, neck pickup is your friend. It's a little weak in the bass-only parts as it is. End of song 2 was pretty abrupt

Creativity - 4

Garage rock, hurrah! I guess that's what you'd call it. Interestingly-done though, good [punchy] songs that flows well. Compound-time can be a bit groan-worthy but 5-6-6-6 is pretty interesting. Song 3 really stands out of the psych-rock set.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 2.5

Bass player is loving it! Good to see. Vocalist really warmed up second song. Guitarist is pretty static, could do with a bit more engagement as well, v. fretboard-focused. Crowd is with you though! Pretty entertaining ensemble all told, but needs work.

Overall - 14.5/25

Good ideas, some tweaks to the presentation and some more live experience would see you right.

Rank: 4th

Hope this clarifies a few things, I'll try and keep my handwriting a bit neater to make Neil's job easier next time...