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