Red Bull Bedroom Jam 2012 Live Final Review


Last Monday saw the Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition come to an exciting climax with Dead Harts, Golden Tanks and I Divide competing head to head in a live final streamed for all to see via the RBBJ website.

The first act to take to the stage was Dead Harts. As soon as the northern lads launched into their brutal take on emotive hardcore it was clear to see that this event was going to be a weird one. The band were absolutely caning it onstage, but with an audience made up of journalists and industry professionals the mosh pit that needed to kick of never happened.

Although also falling under the umbrella of hardcore, Golden Tanks had a different style to Dead Harts. With a swagger similar to Every Time I Die, this band wear their influences on their sleeves. Personally I’ve seen this act numerous times before and they’ve torn the stage apart, but tonight it is a more restrained performance. Maybe the pressure of the strange setting has to the boys. Nonetheless James Illsley nails a sweet solo and Tanks’ performance is an overall success.

I Divide bring a whole different approach to the final, more than anything they are a straight up rock band, the sort of thing that would dominate a more versatile radio playlist. Vocalist Tom Kavanagh sinks into the performance, he is completely overpowered by the music and barely opens his eyes throughout their set, either that or he’s ridiculously nervous. It’s probably the least energetic performance, but sound wise the most refined, a polished effort from a solid band.

As far as interludes go, having Don Broco play a surprise set as the votes are counted isn’t bad! If I Divide looked polished, Don Broco are on another level of professionalism, ‘Priorities’ is rock music at its finest. Front man Rob Damiani even manages to get the surly press filled crowd a bit hyped up. Don Broco have really stepped up their game from the early days and it’s delightful to see the RBBJ alumni demonstrating why this competition is so significant to underground acts in the industry.

Finally, host Katie Parsons brings the three finalists together to reveal the winner. This year I Divide are crowned champions, and they look thoroughly ecstatic. Their second performance of the night to celebrate the victory is full of confidence and they justify themselves as a worthy winner.

It really is a cliché to say, but it was so hard to pick between the three acts. Dead Harts were ferocious, comparable to home-grown heroes While She Sleeps. Golden Tanks had riffs with groves as commendable as Cancer Bats but ultimately it was I Divide’s slick set and catchy choruses that stole the show.

Words: Emma Wallace

Lords of the Swords 2012 vote!

The Essex skate scene spent a full weekend from the 24th-26th August skating all over their county to tick the boxes of many tasks set for this year’s skate video comp that is the one and only Lords of the Swords. Over 20 teams hit the road this year proving just how popular this comp has become.

These videos you see here are the nominated teams that are into the grande finale. To make it clear, 10 teams are in the main comp and 3 teams are in the Pro Comp. Yes, there will be two winners from this week’s chaos. Don’t forget to vote for both comps.

If you don’t know how this works then listen up, it’s very easy. Watch the videos below and vote for your favourite video edits by ‘liking’ them. The team video with the most’likes’ will be crowned Lords of the Swords 2012 on Saturday 29th September at 7pm. Sit back, watch the entertainment, share the videos online and get voting!

Lords of the Swords gallery 2012

The local skate scene of Essex congregated for the Lords of the Swords film challenge a few weeks ago. The weather worked out, the teams registered their shit and hit the road with a booklet full of challenges. Next week we will bring you the video vote so one winner can pick up the honour and of course the most amazing trophy known to British skateboarding but for now, whilst the videos are uploading, enjoy some photos thanks to Kevin Broadbent.

The Team bags ready to be handed out.

D-Team getting there’s before the madness ahead.

And we’re off!

First tricks at the bar…

Mikey Joyce was still pissed from the night before and had to be carried for the team photo.

Mr Joyce seemed to have sobered up enough by the evening.

Filming going down at Silver End.

Essex’ very own Alex Diss doing what he does best (being a dick).

Charlie Munro gets stuck into Urbside.

Dumow Gap challenged by Mikey Joyce.

Dan Wisbeach gets down in Urbside.

A rare photo of Salmon skating with his clothes on.

Mikey Joyce completes another mission, over the doorway at RampRage.

VIDEOS WILL BE PUBLISHED NEXT WEEK!

Reading and Leeds 2012: Top 10 Performances

Arguably 2012 was Reading & Leeds strongest line up of recent years. Not only were did the legendary The Cure take to the main stage, there was a whole variety of acts that put in stellar performances from all sorts of different genres. We’ve picked our top ten from the weekend, some punk bands, some new, some old and one very pop. Check it out below:

ENTER SHIKARI

Enter Shikari and Reading & Leeds go hand in hand. Their performance on the main stage saw punters running over from the dance stage -drawn in by dubstep mix ups- to mosh along with older ‘Take To The Skies’ fans. Tracks from ‘A Flash of Colour’ go down a treat as does ‘Juggernaughts’ which is now somewhat of a Reading classic, again seeing a stupid amounts of crowd surfing. One day soon these humble lads will headline this great stage. Perfection.

RANDOM HAND

Random Hand’s high tempo mix of metal, punk and ska is uplifting. The sheer energy pouring from the band on stage certainly kicked things off in the Lock Up tent after a slow start to the day. Funnily enough, the most impressive part of the whole performance has to be the sheer capacity of Robin Leitch’s lungs! His effortless alternations between trombone, screamed vocals and dancing like a lunatic was a joy to behold.

HAWK EYES

Headlining the BBC Introducing stage was Leeds’ most unassuming rock behemoths Hawk Eyes. Playing a fast and furious set, primarily of tracks from this year’s ‘Ideas’, Hawk Eyes managed to make the outdoor stage feel like a sweaty basement, with the standard troupe of lanky lads starting a (admittedly rather tame) mosh pit. Having previously played the stage under their previous incarnation, let’s pray this signals the last time the boys are on one of the smaller stages at Reading and Leeds.

CEREMONY

When there are an abundance of acts are taking themselves too seriously on stage and swanning around the guest area like they are gods, you need a bit of Ceremony to remind you what punk is all about. Having a fucking good time. And this is exactly what Ceremony do. Vocalist Ross Farrar just goes nuts, spinning around with his t-shirt over his head and microphone dangling around his neck, musically they aren’t that tight, but really no one cares. That’s not what this set is about, it’s just a great laugh.

AT THE DRIVE-IN

Having declared their break-up in 2001 after the release of their seminal album ‘Relationship of Command’, the announcement of reunion dates were a dream come true for many a fan. With mixed reviews emerging from performances at Coachella, it was difficult to know what to expect from their headline set on the BBC Radio 1/NME stage. Opening with the explosive ‘Arcarsenal’, it was hard for a smile not to appear on the face of anyone who holds a special place in their heart for the band.

Given that this was the first time that the majority of the audience got to see the band in the flesh, it was especially pleasing to hear tracks played across their whole back-catalogue of releases, with singer Cedric Bixlar-Zavalar trying his best to recreate those explosive sets from over a decade ago.

The same joy didn’t extend to all members – it was hard not feel disheartened at the sight of Omar motionlessly standing facing his amp for the majority of the set, looking as though he’d rather be elsewhere. This wasn’t the At The Drive-In that left us all those years ago, and perhaps it is too much to expect that.

GALLOWS

The band’s first Reading Festival sans-Frank went off without a hitch in true, unadulterated Gallows fashion. Vivacious circle pits, crowd surfing and an onslaught of punk rock from the stage that never let up, this is a band that is every bit as good, if not better, as version 2.0. The crowd was totally sold by the end of the set. Interestingly it was the band’s new tracks that came across best, leaving everyone wanting more fresh material ASAP.

THE BOUNCING SOULS

Who doesn’t love the Bouncing Souls? Their inspiring punk appeals across the board in the Lock Up tent. Old classics such as ‘Sing Along Forever’ get the dedicated fans jumping whilst newer , softer and more melodic material like ‘Coin Toss Girl’ is a hit with members of the crowd previously unaware of the band. Their set is a resounding success.

ALT-J

The compacted punters inside and swarms of fans outside the Festival Republic Tent show that although fairly new on the radar, Alt-J are already a firm festival favourite. Despite their annoying- hipster-type fan base, Alt-J’s unique and slightly obscure brand of indie is certainly something to take note of with hit single ‘Breezeblocks’ becoming one of the anthems of the weekend.

SANTIGOLD

You may be thinking this is a bit of a bizarre choice if you are familiar with Crossfire’s usual content, but the thing is we can still recognize a good pop artist when we see one! Mixing electronica, hip hop and a healthy dose of mainstream pop, Santigold has a collection of great songs including ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Creator’. Santigold gets the festival party vibe going.

ATTENTION THIEVES

As we caught these local guys in their own territory of Reading, they might have had a slight home advantage. But it appears that it is Attention Thieves’s energy thats key to drawing in a huge crowd around the tiny BBC introducing stage. Attention Thieves have been gaining a lot of attention from the press lately and it seems it’s well deserved as their radio-friendly Rise Against inspired punk rock goes down a treat.

Words: Emma Wallace except Gallows (Sarah Maynard), At The Drive-In, Hawk Eyes (Joe Parry)

READING & LEEDS: MUST SEE BANDS – BBC INTRODUCING STAGE

BBC Introducing Stage, Reading & Leeds 2012

As always Reading & Leeds has an impeccably strong line up. Headliners The Cure, Kasabian and Foo Fighters are joined by numerous big names across several stages including Cancer Bats, At The Drive-In, The Gaslight Anthem, Enter Shikari, The Maccabees, Every Time I Die… The list goes on! But for those who are more interested in finding some fresh blood, the recently announced BBC Introducing is the place to be.

33 up and coming bands have been selected by various BBC Radio Introducing shows and the festival promoters Festival Republic. We’ve handpicked our favourites below with the full stage line up as follows: Attention Thieves, Backyards, Bearfoot Beware, Black Moth, Crooked Tongues, Cut Ribbons, Danica Hunter, Dear Prudence, Dingus Khan, Empror & Duppy Beatz, Escape To New York, Escapists, The Establishment, Family of the Year, Fish Tank, Glassbody, Hawk Eyes, Hildamay, Ifan Dafydd, Lady Lykez, Marmozets, Marsicans, Max Raptor, Mikill Pane, Park Bench Society, Proxies, Rachel Sermanni, Samoans, Sarah Williams White, Seasfire, Wet Nuns, We Walk On Ice, We Were Frontiers.

Proxies:

After selling out physical copies of their EP ‘The Lost Demos’ in a matter of minutes, having toured with the likes of Hadouken! and Canterbury, releasing a single featuring The Blackout’s Sean Smith, and, with over 16,000 followers on Facebook is a bit of a surprise that Proxies are on Reading & Leeds smallest stage! Well we can assure you they won’t be there for long, watch this electric young band up close and personal while you still can!

Hawk Eyes:

Describing their debut album as, “sleek and modern and hardcore and suitably post-post-everything,” and themselves as, “Band, four people, Leeds, riffs, spend a lot of time in a van,” Hawk Eyes are a no frills, yet exceptionally fun, British rock band. We can guarantee that Hawk Eyes won’t be playing these smaller stages for much longer so catch their intimate set while you can…

Samoans:

Samoans are masters of the fretboard. Their distinctive brand of progressive math-rock draws influence from the legendary Reuben and Maps & Atlases. The raw emotion in the vocals is comparable to early Biffy Clyro, making Samoans are compelling and intense live band.

We Walk On Ice:

After featuring on Fred Perry’s Subculture ‘Best New Music’ section and filling out some of London’s coolest venues, We Walk On Ice are one of those buzz bands that you need to catch. Renowned for surf-pop-soundscapes, We Walk On Ice are the perfect accompaniment to a British summers day (weather permitting).

Attention Thieves:

Born in the vibrant Reading music scene, Attention Theives combine straight forward rock with some gutsy punk spirit. You may recognize front man Alex Green from tech-metal band The Arusha Accord, but Attention Theives are on a completely different end of the alternative spectrum with a much more accessible sound. Constantly living life on the road and frequently treating fans to new music videos, Attention Thieves deserve this exposure.

WORDS: EMMA WALLACE

Lords of the Swords documentary online

This is one of the best things that happens in the Essex skate scene” – yes it is and it’s coming again in August right here at Crossfire. Watch this documentary about Luke Macduke’s work in pulling the Essex scene together for their most prestigious get together.

2011/2012 Lords Of The Swords Doc from Lords Of The Swords on Vimeo.