As I posted on monday, good Beijingdaze.com friends, The Amazing Insurance Salesmen, won the Beijing leg of the 2010 Global Battle of the Bands and with it the right to head to Hong Kong and hope to duplicate Rustic’s success story. This year’s Beijing session of the GBoB has been interesting to say the least with cancellations, no-shows, technical problems and what not but, to quote Queen: The Show must go on! … it did!
The final was held at Yugong Yishan on September 26 and was supposed to include 8 bands:
Nakoma, Vital Time, A公馆 (Residence A), The Amazing Insurance Salesmen, The Quatre, Raging Mob, Multi-Ego and Kick Ass. The drama started early when organizers found out that Quatre was using a laptop with special effect and removed them from the competition after they refused to play without it… and then there were seven!
Nakoma went first! The band had a leg-less mannequin standing in for the missing lead singer. They played a decent brand of melodic metal that I thoroughly enjoyed. All things considered, they did a great job and really had no chance in hell with the lack of vocals. I’m looking forward to catching them again soon and I hope they can find themselves a decent voice to complement their music.
Up next was the most recent addition to the competition, Vital Time. Michael Dalin et Co. didn’t have an easy time with this one as they had one week to prepare and were missing their usual bass player. I thought they pulled off a decent show and might have had the best band out there but the performance was not memorable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Dalin and his lyrical/singing style but they would have been better served playing Money Tree or Cream of the Crop, songs that are catchy and can stick in your head.
Residence A followed and kicked things off with a bang! Let’s put it this way, the first song they played was easily the best of the night and could have won them the competition.. presence, vocals, showmanship, excitement… it had it all! and that when things started going wrong! They finished said first song to a huge crowd/judges round of applaud and started the second song with…. a keyboard loop… a freaking pre-recorded loop…. automatic disqualification! They had been warned at soundcheck but chose to ignore it which is very rock n roll of them. They also went well over the 8mn time slot allocated to them and i could go on but i wont… At the end of the day, All the goodwill they built with their first song was lost on the second song that pretty much sucked IMHO.
The Amazing Insurance Salesmen were up next! Now, we know that they won the whole thing but hindsight 20/20, How did they do it? They were the first band to acknowledge the audience, they played a tight set despite Jean Sebastian’s voice being a bit shaky that night, they showed variety and originality and they had Mao Mao. They picked two songs, Babies and In The Park, that clocked in at 8mn exactly. I remember one of the other judges coming to me at the end of their set and saying: “I’m ready to buy some insurance”.. some of the other judges were not sold as much but we were still a bit put off with the Residence A incident.
Raging Mob came up next and definitely brought their friends along! they had a the place jumping up and down with an entertaining 8mn of what I considered trash metal KTV. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll go and watch them again but there were bits and pieces from other songs in there, the drummer couldn’t keep time and their singer, who was quite charismatic just couldn’t sing well enough to keep up with the bands.
Multi-Ego came on and lost points with me right of the bet. Their first song has elements of Testament, Linkin Park and Evanescence all together… not the originality we were looking for! cool thing about them was the entertaining synchronized headbanging. They were heavy and the singer had some good pipes on him but nothing special really.. maybe i got spoiled by the Exodus show a few days before.
Last but not least was Kick Ass. I had really high hope for them and felt that their performance at 2 Kolegas didn’t do them justice. I was right… They came in and played their 2 songs, did everything right and had the formula right as well! charismatic lead singer, guitar hero with top hat, decent sound, solid all over! They basically had most complete package of the night.
The judges turned in their forms after a bit of a discussion about the disqualification of Residence A, the merits of the other bands and despite the different personalities, I think almost everyone was on the same page as far as what was good and what wasn’t.. there was just various degrees of it all!
Rustic came out to play a closing set, their last as reigning Beijing GBoB champions. Man, have they improved!!! They’re a lot better than a few months ago and they’ve grown as musicians. big ups
When the champs were announced, there was a bit of surprise and at the same time exhilaration in the air… I honestly didn’t think they would win it but they managed to pick up enough points from all the judges to get through when no one thought they’d get it… I personally had them and Kick Ass tied for top spot and I’m guessing that the other judges had them high enough…
The disqualification of Residence A is and will remain the sticky topic of the night but hey, the competition only had 3 freaking rules..3… if you go and bear 2 of them, u can’t really bitch about it.
It’s starting to sound like an underdog story who no one believed in and managed win it all against all odds… Deja Vu? Either ways, congratulations to Jean Sebastian, Maikel and Mao Mao on their win…. keep it up guys and don’t listen to the naysayers! There’s a lot to be said about GBoB and how the competition went this year but this post is already long enough.