Battle of the Bands @ The Arnhem Club
Written by Rob Stewart on July 15, 2016
Battle of the Bands Live @ TAC June 25
By Rob Stewart
As part of the Family Fun Festival that was held at the Arnhem Club last Saturday
the Battle of the Bands was nothing short of an epic success.
8 local acts came, and they sung, rhymed, shouted, sweated, danced, bled, played
and even got bass playing blisters for rock n roll! These acts were ably supported
by an extremely well fed and enthusiastic bunch of music loving crowd goers
that I’m certain are all keen to come back and do it all over again.
The afternoon was kicked off by Conflict of Interest, aptly named through their
ineligibility to take home the cash prize as this was one unit made up entirely of
Arnhem Club staff, namely Grant, Will, Rhi and Jimmy. If they were eligible it
would have made the judges hard job even harder, as they were brilliant. Grant
said they been playing together for two and a half hours but they played like
they’ve been together for two and a half years, they were as tight as a
pachyderms legs in lycra and armed with a swag of crowd favourite tunes.
Conflict of Interest would make for one sensational Sunday session band… Paula,
if you’re reading this, their grooves and a dry season Sunday arvo will be like
crack for crowds!
Next up was me, Handsome Rob. I did all right. I won best solo act of the day,
well, I would have if there were such a prize!
Following on after my dazzling measures of mediocrity was soon to be crowned
overall champions the MC Aris Experience… Matt, Olivia, Bob and Manny were
quite simply the most engaging group with a truly unique modus operandi. The
smooth grooves and tasty hooks were on point, and add into this mix is the ice
cool MC Aris who has a virtuoso lyrical injection that at times is delivered at
speeds not previously thought humanly possible! Paula, surely the club could
find a residency for these champions of tunes too?
The Vibes were up next and a bigger stage was almost required, not cos Luke is a
sizeable dude, but to fit all and sundry upon it… I lost count but there was more
than a handful of tuneful gringos that made up the Vibes, and boy did they
deliver some fine vibes to boot. I think if there was a peoples choice it would
have been maybe the Vibes by a nose over MC Aris and Harry & the Walkers.
This tip top outfit, were extremely well rehearsed and extremely well equipped
to play with skill and aplomb. Their smooth summer reggae grooves proved just
the tonic for a tidy dry season day and I feel this is yet another must have regular
band to appear around the traps, Paula… you still reading?
Once all of the Vibes had been removed stage left, the Battle continued with the
Cycads who got an early performance call after the scheduled Garrangali Band
were unable to make it (which bummed me out as I had been singing Muthi
Muthi to myself for most of the day in anticipation of hearing it live!)
But my disappointment was but ephemeral as the Cycads plugged in, turned on
and trotted out a very well received array of alternative classics plus a very
noteworthy original that hopefully ushers in many more to come. The Cycads are
basically the MC Aris Experience minus MC Aris so the grooves and hooks were a
plenty but the vocal duties were handled with Miss Olivia’s usual sublime silky
rockin skills. The Cycads are the sorta band that I want to play with!
No sooner had Olivia unstrapped the Bass and had a chance to rehydrate she was
required back onstage to join her best mates and another crowd favourite Papa
Said. If there was a prize for band who has the best fun on stage it would have to
go to Papa Said, these four glamorous ladies of rock always look like they’re
having the best time when they play and I’m guessing that’s because they are!
Their original tunes are insanely catchy nuggets of creativity… Not unlike the
girls them selves.
The penultimate act were former Battle of the High School Band finalists Good
Question and they were back together after a hiatus and ready to make up for
lost time. The crowd by this time were well lubricated and had been having some
mighty jolly times to date so they were more than willing to jump about and get
stuck into a great set of uptempo tunes delivered by an excellent line up of young
good looking musicians. Good Question left nothing in the tank and would have
given the judges more heartache as to how on Earth they were only going to
choose one winner.
Last band to hit the B.O.T.B stage were Harry & The Walkers… Lead by the
incomparable Harry Walker who proved to be the most consummate front man
of the day with his skill of endearing himself to the crowd with charming banter,
undeniable enthusiasm and a bucket load of charisma. However the Walkers
were not merely session musos backing a star, they were a tight well rehearsed
band who enable Harry to be the rock star he so clearly is when they all come
together as a wonderful band of lovable reprobates! All of Harry & the Walkers
songs were original tunes written by Harry and each and everyone of them
comes complete with a sweet catchy hook and plenty of infectious pop
enjoyability. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again just in case Paula has stuck
with us and read this far… Here is another band that should be marking in a
residency at the club!
Once the musical dust of rock n freakin roll had settled and the judges decisions
made final it was then revealed that Harry & the Walkers were runners up and
the MC Aris Experience were Victors. But I think all in attendance, that’s the
awesome folk at the food stalls, the Arnhem clubs brilliant staff, the sensational
sound crew, all the outstanding musicians, the fabulous anti fracking folk
creating much needed awareness, and the super brilliant crowd who chipped in
a stack of cash to raise money for musical instruments for local schools, and
clapped and cheered their hearts out… All will agree, that I was robbed and
should have won, sorry… did I say that out loud? What I meant to say was local
music is alive and in very good hands in this tip top community. Do yourself a
favour and get out amongst it at every given opportunity, you’ll feel better for