Tonight’s venue used to hold much larger gigs back in the 60’s with the likes of the Stones and Hendrix gracing its stage. The venue has, however, become a little run down in recent years but still has an amazing PA and a huge capacity allowing some gigs to become huge events. As it was a Sunday though and the gig was very underpromoted. there was only about 150 people inside when the first band came on.

The night was kick started into life by the trash funk jams of Strobe 45, the bastard son of funk and well I don’t know what else! Now this band are different. They buzz from the outset. seamlessly managing to play for themselves whilst satisfying the audience fully. If anything the band sounds British which in these days of American supremacy of the industry can’t be a bad thing.

Next up were Malefice who promptly drop kicked the hangover I was nursing out of my head and into the back wall of the club. These guys were metal, loud unapologetic ball shaking metal. Tight as hell and reminding me very much of Machinehead they pounded through their set double kick drumming all the way. Unfortunately, as this was all they had, there was never a standout moment for me. The kids on the other hand were headbanging so hard I thought I was back in the 80’s!

Now I liked Emo about a year ago and if Two Days Too Late were around at that time they would have blown me clear out of my Converse All Stars. Now Emo or whichever name you wish to give it sounds jaded with every band sounding similar. Don’t get me wrong this band are possibly the tightest band gracing our ears tonight but with the whole genre flooded by much better American bands they may forever stay in the wings of the world of rock.

Bohica were next up shortly followed by Polyorchid,. Both are fairly big on the local scene waiting for their time to take the next step. I had heard good things about them both but alas my hopes were dashed as they each took to the stage. Both were extremely good technical bands but playing music that is better left to Nickelback, Staind and the multitude of other US stadium rock bands. Of the two Polyorchid to me were the better band if for no other reason than they had the most Jesus look-alikes in any band ever with half the group sporting long hair and facial fur.

Rounding the night off were Mel Sanson, I’m not normally fans of bands that are named after their vocalist but I have to say that these guys were actually quite good. They were totally different from nearly every other band on the bill tonight as they had songs and good ones too. Unfortunately the female lead singer was drunk and very drunk at that causing her vocals to descend into a half shouted mess which really let them down. This was nearly rectified when she stripped at the end of the set but sex appeal does not a good band make.

The night ended with the announcement of which bands got through to the finals. I’m happy to say my three top bands for the night, Strobe 45, Two Days Too Late and Mel Sanson all made it through showing that maybe America’s hold is fading. Who knows ? Maybe one day one of these bands will bring Britain back to the forefront of the music industry.

Here’s hoping.

The photographs of Strobe 47 that accompany this article were taken by Matthew Williams

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Commenting On: Camberley, 21/3/2004 - Agincourt Rock Club Battle of the Bands

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