Guernsey Gigs Battle of the Bands

On Saturday 4th August Guernsey Gigs staged a Battle of the Bands event at the KGV clubhouse.

With 11 bands playing across the day there was a great atmosphere throughout and the top prize went to recently formed reggae-punks RentOClean.

You can read my interview with the winners and organisers for BBC Introducing Guernsey by clicking on the screen grab.

You can see a full gallery of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page.

And here is my review of the show:


With sporting competition on every mind at the moment with the Olympic Games going strong, Guernsey Gigs presented a contest of a different kind on Saturday 4th August 2012, a Battle of the Bands.

For a Saturday afternoon in mid summer it may have seemed an odd choice to spend the day inside to some, but, thankfully, the weather wasn’t the most sparkling it could have been and so from the start there was an audience for the bands and performers at the KGV clubhouse today.

First on stage was Robert J Hunter, who has become something of a mainstay of acoustic blues in Guernsey with regular performances at gigs and festivals and in many of the islands pubs, which have clearly sharpened his playing skills. Today he displayed this with an, as ever, consummate performance which set a high standard from the off and went down well with the small but growing audience.

Songs In the Key Of G

There was more solo acoustic action next, though with more of a punk edge, from Songs In The Key Of G (aka Mark). Playing a more controlled performance than many I have seen from him recently Mark put in a solid show and again went down well as more made their way into the venue.

The days first full band, The Black Vote, took to the stage next and much like Songs In The Key of G, their early stage time seemed to lead to a slightly more controlled performance than usual, although they still trod their customary fine line between control and chaos. While this is a band that will never appeal to everyone, I once again very much enjoyed their set of attitude and experience driven punk rock that veered from the lyrically downbeat to the ridiculous in fine form.

Dealer’s Left changed the musical mood somewhat next with their set of pop rock sounds, mostly drawing on covers but with a few originals, they once again played a great set that hints at great things to come, which was reflected by their runner-up position in today’s contest.

The next act was The Phantom Cosmonaut who it would be a challenge for me to review (it being me) so I will just say I had a good time and apologies to the organisers for over running my slot!

The DeadBeats

The path to some early evening heaviness began next up with The DeadBeats. With only a handful of gigs to their name they played a great set tonight which once again highlighted frontman Bobby Battle’s unique stage presence and vocals within a heavy grunge context.

The band’s drummer, Dan Garnham, also displayed his recently developed skills, but still with that sense of attitude which many local gigs goers will remember from his tenure with band’s like Spat and the Bio-Nightmares.

Modern thrashers Distant Shores brought their mix of NWOAHM and NWOBHM to the Battle of the Bands next and, while their sound was a bit murky for the first few numbers, they were soon firing on all cylinders and once again played a blinder.

Distant Shores

As possibly their last performance in Guernsey before half the band head off to university in September their signature track As The Stars Collide brought a satisfying end to their set – I just hope they keep the band going as they are something new and refreshing in Guernsey’s current metal scene.

From something new and refreshing to a trip down memory lane next as Iron Cobra reformed after four years for the first of a couple of reformation gigs.

My memory had given me something of a sense of expectation for this southern metal band’s return and I sincerely hoped that it wasn’t a sense of nostalgia that had produced this, but, as the band tore through a set of originals and covers of the likes of Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster, I realised I needn’t have worried.

Once again Bobby Battle demonstrated his combination of musicianship and stage presence and frontman Dave Riley delivered an astonishing vocal performance, which I can only think, must lead to a sore throat later in the evening.

Iron Cobra

Closing on Dead Man’s Hand, Iron Cobra were one of my true highlights of the day and I hope these few reformation shows aren’t the last we see of them.

Having not caught any of their previous gigs (be it their first full-scale appearance at Chaos, or their smaller outings) this was my second time seeing RentOClean in as many days.

While their set last night had been good it had failed to ignite the crowd, tonight however was a different story as many seemed to be there to specifically to see this band and were soon skanking along to their reggae-punk sounds.

Following their brilliant and uplifting performance tonight, which engaged the audience with the between song banter as well as with their music, it was no surprise that RentOClean came out on top in the Battle of the Bands.

Party In Paris

Party In Paris were penultimate band tonight and it was my first time catching them, though I understand the band have undergone quite a few line up changes in their short history but now seem to have settled on this six piece version.

Playing a full on set of what can only be called proper pop they sounded excellent with piano and saxophone alongside the guitar, drums and bass, adding something different to most of the other bands today and young vocalist Gemma Honey was a particular highlight of their already very good set.


Finally on stage were Lifejacket, another band I was seeing for the second time this weekend. After what was not their best performance last night they were back on fine form tonight and seem to have developed something of a following judging by the reactions to their original songs. For me they were another of the highlight of the day, though, to be honest, I don’t think there was a bad set all day and any of the acts would have been deserving winners.

So, that was the first Guernsey Gigs Battle of the Bands, won by RentOClean with Dealer’s Left and Party In Paris as runners-up, and while my personal view on Battle of the Bands is that they are an odd concept, as a reason to draw people to a venue and check out some local music, this one seemed to do the trick and I hope these become regular events and I can give nothing but credit to Guernsey Gigs for doing their bit in drawing Guernsey’s live music community together.

All photos by Tom Girard and courtesy of BBC Introducing Guernsey.

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