Outstanding talent at Mark Hall’s Battle of the Bands

Education / Mon 27th Mar 2023 at 08:11am

CHLOE Colton and Kieron Dyer took to the stage in front of a packed house to mark the start of the annual Battle Of The Bands competition. With the microphones checked, the lights on and the room full of anticipation, they introduced the first band.

Dubbed the ‘new kids on the block,’ Alishia, Hollie, Harry, Joey, Jacob, Taylor and Daisytook to the stage. The band Seven Elevens consists entirely of Year 7 students. To get a band together at their age is one thing, but starting the show with AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’ was simply brilliant. They quickly gained the room’s attention with their fantastic stage presence and it was clear they were heading in the right direction. Finishing off with Imagine Dragons ‘Radioactive’, the youngsters kicked off the night’s proceedings with a superbly performed set of songs. 

Next to take to the stage with their debut performance were the Year 8 Band; Nadine, Katelyn, Ollie, Oliver and Joseph. Featuring a special guest, Lily Johnson, who provided a solid bassline, there was nothing holding them back. Opening with a great sing-along in the form of Joan Jett’s ‘I Love Rock and Roll’, they had the whole crowd clapping along. They ended their set with Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Do I Wanna Know’ showcasing Ollie, Oliver and Lily’s guitar skills. For many students in this band, it was their first time performing in front of an audience. They may have seemed nervous waiting in the wings, but they put in a performance to be proud of. But was it a winning one?

Taking no prisoners and exploding into their set with a strong rendition of The Pigeon Detectives’ ‘Take Her Back’ were the Year 9 band, Foilsick. Featuring our talented host Kieron Dyer on the keys as well as Lily, Alyssa, Laila and Ash, they impressed the judges with strong ensemble skills and good technical control. Their final song was ‘But It’s Better If You Do’ by Panic at the Disco, with a special mention for the powerhouse drumming of Ash Welsh. Stuart Copeland beware!

Next to perform was Threefall, featuring our superstar host Chloe Colton as well as Rose and Ava. Entering the competition as a three-piece band was a brave move, which surely wouldn’t go unnoticed by the judges. With an emphasis on an acoustic, live-lounge vibe, they began with Paramore’s ‘The Only Exception’. Chloe and Rose then blended some beautiful harmonies with Newton Faulkner’s ‘Fingertips’. A perfectly timed drum fill to compliment a great keyboard backing, these girls were ones to watch.

 Moving on to the KS4 bands, up next was 7DS. Featuring our Performing Arts veterans Jaime Reynolds and Daisy Hayward alongside Amelia, Matthew, Sophie and Chloe, they began to play Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ and had the crowd wondering – is today going to be their day? Their next song was an interesting move, mixing things up with the ultimate revenge song ‘Before He Cheats’ by Carrie Underwood. Showcasing Daisy’s powerful vocals alongside Jaime’s lush harmonies, the band’s matching stage wear and superb ensemble skills impressed the crowd. But had they done enough to secure the crown?

The next band Flicker pulled out all the stops with their set. Lily, Brayden, Adam, Hollie, Aimee and Grace knew they had to make the most of their time on stage, and what better way to start than with Oasis’ ‘She’s Electric’. With Grace Oakley’s nifty guitar work keeping the song solid, Flicker had made their mark. Picking up the tempo next with ‘Still into You’ by Paramore allowed Hollie to showcase her vocal harmonies. They pulled out all the stops with their final song. Aimee and Hollie began to play the opening chords to Arctic Monkeys’ enormous ‘When the Sun Goes Down’. They worked the crowd and proved the challenging choice of repertoire was no trouble for them.

 Having faced an uphill struggle with losing vital members in the band, it was a triumph in itself that Unconventionals managed to take to the stage. Lily, Phoebe, Alfie and Lilymae pulled together with the help of Ellie, Chloe and Saffron to perform a 4-song set. They launched into Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Brutal’ and they didn’t disappoint. A great start to the set which continued with ‘Use Somebody’. As soon as the band started to play it was obvious that Phoebe and Lilymae would have everyone singing along to the Kings of Leon’s hit. They ended with Billie Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’ which allowed Lily to demonstrate her accompanying skills on the piano while Pheobe took the lead on vocals, performing with emotion. 

The final band to perform were the previous champions, back to defend their title. With their ultimate hype girl, Stacey Lunguela working the crowd as well as their challenging song choices, Redacted were no doubt upping their game. Saffron, Stacey, Charlie, Milan, Ellie and Megan kicked off with The Wombats’ classic ‘Kill The Director,’ followed by Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Jealousy Jealousy’ showcasing a powerful blend of vocal harmonies and strong rhythmic support. Saffron Bennie found herself in the spotlight during Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’, executing a brilliant guitar solo that would make Kurt Cobain proud. Ending their set with the epic that is Foo Fighters’ ‘Everlong’, there was even time for Megan to pick up a guitar to join in with the volcanic finale. They looked confident as they left the stage, but had they done enough to secure the crown for a second year?

After all eight bands played, there was an interval whilst the judges gathered their thoughts. Chloe and Kieron then returned to the stage to reveal the all-important awards. 

The winning band was announced and there was absolutely no dispute with the result. The winners of the 2023 Battle of the Bands… Redacted

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