On Wednesday August 13th SilentArena presented a world's first like no other. The event was held in conjunction with Barfly where bands battled it out in the world's first silent battle of the bands. On 2 stages and 2 channels, 5 bands went head-to-head for the attention of the audience, but in apparent silence.
The bands played simultaneously over 2 separate channels and their music was transmitted into the ears of the audience via the SilentArena wireless headphones. They then had the choice of who they wanted to listen to using the switch on the side of the headphones, allowing the audience to change between channels and therefore bands freely and giving a whole new meaning to the term "Battle of the Bands". The event showcased some of the region's best talent including performances from Along Came Man, Jamie and the Lion Hearts, May Contain Nuts, AudioCalm and Kutosis.
Along Came Man are a Cardiff based band from Wales in the UK and describe themselves as rock and/or roll. The 3 piece band with Andrew on Guitar, vocals and Keyboard, Slim on bass and backing vocals and Matt on drums and also backing vocals formed in 2001 at the young age of 14 and went on to be a signed and published act at 17. They have gigs all over the UK, including London and Cardiff Barfly, and have played with many well known artists, starting with supporting 3 Colours Red on their tour, helping to promote ACM's first E.P. They have also played with Status Quo, Feeder, The Automatic and The Zutons in both the CIA and Millennium Stadium in the Welsh capital. At the end of 2004, Along Came Man got an award for Best New Act at The Pop Factory Awards; they're regularly played on The Steve Lamacq show on BBC Radio 1 and are given heavy rotation on Scuzz TV, a rock music channel on Sky TV. More recently, one of the tracks from Along Came Man has been used to soundtrack an ITV Wales music show series known as "The Guest List"
An ensemble of guitar, drums, bass and vocals, Jamie and the Lionhearts are a unique band up and coming in the world of music. The 5 members Jamie, Philip, Paul and Charles from various areas of South England and bassist Matthew from Wales, first started up the band when they met at Cardiff University. Performing in venues through Wales and England they have played with such famous names as Operator Please, Lightspeed Champion and Johnny Flynn to name a few. Based in Cardiff over the next couple of months they have a busy schedule ahead with dates throughout the UK, including SWN festival, The Gate, and Dirty Sue's Bar as a headline solo act. They have also had airtime on BBC Radio Wales and with the up and coming events Jamie and the Lionhearts are playing around the country I'm sure we'll be hearing more of them soon.
Singer/songwriter Andy Huntley, after travelling around the world for the best part of 5 years, returned home to produce an amazing debut E.P entitled "Roots", after recording this E.P he began his search for other musicians to enable him to play, record and produce his music as a live act. This led to the now Cardiff based 4 piece, originally from Bridgend in South Wales, consisting of; Andy Huntley on guitar and lead vocals, Gareth Lewis on guitar, Alex Markey on bass guitar and Gav Payn on Drums. Having already caused a stir within the live music scene as a solo artist, Audiocalm went on to become more popular through performances at some of the largest festivals in the UK including 'In the City' in Manchester and 'Get Loaded in the Park- Metro Weekender'. Audiocalm were voted best emerging band in the UK after going through as the Welsh finalists and finishing overall as runners-up in the World's largest and most prestigious 'Global Battle of the Bands' in 2004. One of their most recently released tracks "Too Much' was entered into the 2008 UK Song writing Contest, held in association with the BRIT trust, The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, BBC Radio and other industry bodies, and was carefully scrutinised and examined by expert music industry judges and placed in the top 5 as a semi finalist. With BBC Radio 1 quoting the band's sound to be "Not too far from the lovelorn laments of aqualung. All bare emotion and quiet musical strokes and very lovely it is too"- BBC Radio 1 Since entering the industry, Audiocalm have performed and collaborated with many popular acts, including tour dates with 'Jamie T', 'Pull Tiger Tail', 'Jack Penate', 'The Magic Numbers', 'Newton Faulkner' and 'Brett Anderson' (Suede)'. Their debut single "Fall" is on sale in good music shops now through the bands own '16th Groove Records' label in conjunction with Pinnacle Distribution, their greatly anticipated follow up single "Too Much" has recently been released.
One of the last to play was the 4 member band Kutosis. A band with plenty of publicity, Jim (guitar), Ian (guitar and vocals), Chicken (bass and vocals) and Ben (drums) are based in Cardiff and have been playing with well known artists such as Babyshambles, Victorian English Gentlemen's Club, Apes, French Toast and Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster from close to the start of their formation. Two of their demos have both proved to be highly popular, with "Control, Control" already having airtime on Steve Lamacq (BBC Radio1 and 6Music) and it has been recorded for Promotional CD "This Town Ain't Big Enough For The 22 Of Us" complied for Twisted By Design, Wales most popular Alternative night which takes place in different venues throughout Cardiff. "God I just love this. Frantic, energetic brash guitars stab and slice and probe, almost masking the impassioned vocals that could be raging about media mind control, fascist government control or the TV remote control" - REPEAT Fanzine Review of "Control, Control"
A second demo "The Yo-Yo" has been featured by Huw Stephens on "In New Music We Trust" and also by Tom Robinson on 6Music (BBC Radio 1). Kutosis have also recorded a live "Introducing" Session for another BBC Radio1 show with Bethan Elfyn who, along with Huw Stephens, quoted Kutosis' sound as "ragged cut-and-shut garage rock." The most recent EP "Vultures" has had its video recorded for ITV1 Wales and is currently available to buy from Repeat Records, iTunes and Audio Lunchbox. The popular music and events magazine BUZZ give the single 4 stars out of 5, saying "Kutosis' debut single gobs in our faces with angular snorting punk-pop." A new 7" single will be released end of 2008 through Diverse Records. May Contain Nuts
One of the more punk bands playing in the Silent Battle of the Bands was "May Contain Nuts", from Cardiff. Having originally formed in January of 2002 the band had many members join and leave until late in 2005 when the 4 piece became the band they are currently, travelling all over the UK and having just recently started a European Tour, including gigs in Germany, France and Holland. Described as being "Imaginative, witty and more political than the Sunday show" by Offshore Studios, the band are well known for being both "energetic and entertaining" on stage and also for providing the crowd with a fun atmosphere, their "fast and catchy songs getting the audience in a dancing mood." Currently signed with Devon based label 'SYWP Records' May Contain Nuts have recently released a new EP entitled "Land ho!", being hailed as "vastly superior to anything the band has done in the past", released to coincide with their European tour. May Contain Nuts have played almost 250 shows around the UK, including such well known bands as The Misfits, The Damned, RX Bandits and The Toasters. Their music being described as, "short, catchy punk tracks with a drunken sing-a-long quality that would make a reformed alcoholic reminisce about the good times" and their stage presence added to by the band being only known through random nicknames, "the guys make it their mission to confuse and amuse everyone who is watching. The singer 'Rev' uses his signature top hat to maximum effect, raising his eyebrows as he removes and replaces it to the beat and creasing people with laughter" - Stone Mason Arms The band prove popular with many audiences due to their general laid back attitudes and fun performances, with Daniel Grosvenor from GIITTV hitting the nail on the head saying "A lot of people start a band as a joke. The difference with May Contain Nuts is they're so GOOD at it they have - probably inadvertently - become a credible band."
The Gig was supported by SilentArena. Click on the link for more info on how to put on your own Silent Gig!