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'Battle of the bands'
Trinity Ball Competition,
The Academy

By Angela Macari - O'Looney

I promised myself on seeing two members of 'Like Kings' perform a brilliant set at 'Crawdaddy' a few weeks ago, that I'd go and see them with the full compliment of their members a.s.a.p. With only two guitars for accompaniment they had impressed me with their sound. So on the invitation of bassist Brian Nolan, I found myself at my 2nd battle of the Bands competition at 'The Academy', this time the prize being a chance for the winner to play the 'The Trinity Ball', a prestigious and high profile event!

This event is run by the Student's Union of T.C.D. So I was a little apprehensive on arrival that I would be turned away, since I'm not a student. However my worries evaporated as soon as I got to the door. My host Brian came right out to meet me and showed me inside. The organiser once he knew my intentions was eager to help in any way or give me any information I needed for my story, proving that young students CAN organise unlike many so-called professionals around the city!

STATE BETWEEN STATES- The first band up were a fun act with a punked-up guy leading them. They performed 'It's what we need', 'Wordscape', 'Eddy's song' and 'Caffeine'. With lots of life and cheekiness coming from him, the singer totally gave it loads and seemed to be having a ball himself. The crowd lapped him up and were jumping and dancing about from the get-go.
Their second number had a kick-ass beat with the bass and lead guitars doing energetic solos. The last chorus of this song was done with just one guitar accompanying the singer which was very effective. He told a funny story about the next song and the guy it was devoted to, EDDY!
This number reminded me of a cross between Feargal Sharkey from the Undertones and R.E.M. He used lots of hand movements as he sang and although the lyrics were sarcastic, you could tell it meant a lot to him. A joker he may be, but he had a very memorable and sweet voice!
'Caffeine' was introduced with another funny anecdote. Although the singer clowned around a lot, face besmeared with green war paint and a general look of recklessness about him, he really could sing and as this fun-packed band performed this crazy up-beat number, they got a very positive reaction from the audience. In the last song, the lead guitarist blew me away with a very Brian May style solo. Both he and the bassist proved extremely competent and I have to say this band impressed me. What a start to the night and there were six more to go!

The second band were called JAZZ BREEZE and performed 'Kissing my Love', 'If you want me to stay', 'Tactically charmed', 'Sunshine of my Love' and 'I won'. The line-up included brass (both tenor and alto sax) a bass player, lead guitar, keyboards drums and lead vocals.
The singer a Naomi Cambell look-alike was wearing a very snazzy gangster hat tilted jauntily on her head. 'Kissing my Love' began with magical bass and just enough spice from the lead guitarist to set it off. It had a heady blues style to it, but I found the keyboards a little bit too quiet.
The vocalist has real quality in her voice as she seduces her audience. The familiar 'If you want me to stay' was next. You could now hear the piano as he played a honky tonk style intro. With bass and lead adding delicious riffs and hooks the whole band were getting into their stride now. People were dancing and enjoying themselves as smart little solos were injected by all instruments, behind a confident singer. She oozed charm and charisma.
'Tactically charmed'- The singer introduced the next song. It had an exotic 'Girl from Iponema' beat. One of the saxophonists played flute here, as this wonderful number developed. There was a beautiful bit of harmony sung by the lead guitarist and the sweet melody made me imagine myself in Paradise, sipping Tequilas as I listened. In this band, each member seemed to be something of a virtuoso. They were extremely popular with the crowd, but with a very definite 'JAZZ' sound going on (exactly what it says on the tin)!
'Sunshine of my love' was beautifully performed followed by 'I won'. This had a Funkier beat to it than previous numbers and was my favourite. There were interesting discords played by the brass section and the lead guitar spat out these sharp, sexy riffs throughout. The keyboard player performed some intricate solos and with lovely slapping bass that you felt right down to your boots, this whole number exuded depth. Then as if you weren't already impressed enough one final riff before the finish, played in unison by all the instruments giving one hell of a big sound underlined the classiness of this act.

LEONARDS CORNER Band number 3 performed 'Today is gonna be', 'Dame St',
'Something new', 'Animals' and 'Brothers'.
Well the very name of this act touches a nerve for me, since my birthplace is but ten minutes walk away from Leonard's Corner on the South Circular Road. This band consisted of three guitars, rhythm bass and lead, with the rhythm guitarist fronting the act.
There was one female backing singer who sung close harmonies which I enjoyed. Things only began to take off when they moved onto 'Dame St.' the second song. The drummer did lots of brilliant little extras and he had a real personality. I found the chorus superb here and the bass and lead guitars were well co-ordinated. The whole band was tight and polished. They played as if their very lives depended on it and people were swept up in the mood which by now was hyper!
'Something new' began with a fast verse. All the stops were pulled out, with lots of distortion-packed chords and sweet harmonies. I could definitely picture this show stopping and energetic bunch creating a rave to remember in T.C.D.
'Animals' was a lovely number which began with a sweet guitar intro followed by a delicious lead riff and a catchy chorus. Although this was a laid back song, there was a big dramatic build up to the chorus and you could feel the crowd were absorbed in each riff and solo. Finally 'Leonard's corner' finished with 'Brothers'. With a hammering beat they began this amazing song which had exceptional lead guitar solos, little riffs injected here and there and it was just awesome! They had saved the best till last!

Next up was a band named JOOLS KINGS who were extremely well received as they took to the stage. I noticed firstly that the drummer who had performed with the previous act, 'Leonard's Corner' was drumming for this lot too. I admired his stamina! The singer in this band played guitar and I noticed he smiled a lot as he sang the first song, something I love to see in a front man. You need personality and an ability to win people over like this and automatically everyone seemed to just adore him. Patrick O'Leary I later learned is his name.
'What I wouldn't do' was the first song of their set, followed by 'Stay up all night'. I felt a 'Kooks' style in this number with a fast and choppy beat in it. Each verse and chorus was expertly framed by the wonderful riffs from both bass and lead guitars. Patrick had style! He sang with plenty of energy too and I felt this song was short and sweet .Just right!
'The way I are' was performed by Patrick accompanying himself on piano and with a crisp Alternative/pop style it had a bit of everything thrown in to the cauldron. Star quality came to mind as I like everyone present, couldn't help but smile with this really fun guy onstage. The lads on bass and lead guitars got really involved in the chorus and people clapped along and sang with them. They did 'Paris', a really sweet Parisian-style number with a lovely piano going on throughout. Then you were taken into a slinky chorus with key changes and a romantic, je ne sais quoi feel to it. Laid back, cheerful and fun this was a memorable song indeed!
'San Francisco' involved a funky piano intro with Patrick telling a story in song. Very parody-styled which brought me back to that song by 'Queen', Seaside Rendezvous!
The crowd were just sucking this act up with such enthusiasm and although this song was amusing and comical, there was nothing comical about their musical ability. As the drummer Phil Doran showed brilliant showmanship and each member of the band did his solo, one just had to respond. They were magnetic!

Band no 5 were CHANNELS. Their first number 'I don't mind' had a really catchy intro with sweet bass and lead involved. There seemed to be a lot of support for this lot. They had a strong sound with well thought out melody lines and harmonies. In this song there was a lovely change of tempo then an appealing build-up to the last chorus. There was a huge crowd up the front and as they began their second song 'm-theory', they were drowned out by a lot of chatter. However the lead guitarist, Connor Murray began a screaming solo and he managed to command attention and the noise from the crowd settled down.
Things started rocking up with distortion-packed guitar riffs coming into the third number 'Square one'. As the lead singer Brian Dwyer with a strikingly clear voice performed this song, I felt I could listen to him forever!
The violins and Trumpet used in this act added dimension and volume and I felt they stood out for that reason. There was a combination of rock with a traditional feel which I found interesting.
When they got to the fourth song 'The beggar's plea', I felt I'd heard it somewhere before. A beautiful violin was brought in and just totally changed everything. Apparently this musician is a girl called Charlotte Geoghan. We'll be hearing from her in the future I'm sure.
With lots of unexpected changes in this number and a very catchy chorus, it was magic.
They finished with 'The Ska song'. This involved a rhythmic rap which I liked. Then a guy called Mark Dunne played trumpet to boost the sound again. Very Boomtown rats! You could nearly say that The Channels had about every genre in their songs and seemed to throw everything into a mix and excite the senses no end!

KILLER CHLOE Band number six started their set with a galloping intro which exploded, with lots of distortion and a very weird post punk sound filled with spark!
I found it new, exciting and adrenaline-packed. They had this way of making you feel you'd just knocked back a pint of Aftershock through a straw! They were arrogant, loud and downright irresistible! This number was called 'High Song'.
'Stop' was their second song and what I really loved in this was the little riffs and extremely appealing bass on top of supremely sweet harmony. This number is quite dramatic and punchy and Peter performed some great stuff on keyboards and his voice was really special. With lots of amazing changes in dynamics, from an upbeat verse into a screaming chorus they never let you out of their spider's web of mesmerising music! A brilliant song!
Next they played 'Sanderson's', which for me stood out because of a great change of key in the middle. There's a haunting refrain with sweet harmonic 'oohs'. Then suddenly you are taken back to the MAD screaming chorus!
'Coin box' was a crazy song with a vibrant chorus and this was followed by 'Feargal rock'. By now the crowd were hopping and pogoing and full of life and the atmosphere was up to 90. With cute riffs and weird discords going on, this lot was a band I would just love to hear more of. I feel I'm going to see them again because they have something for sure! Peter, the singer raised the roof and left his keyboards to concentrate on giving the final chorus his all!

LIKE KINGS It was a long way to come to finally get to hear this band the way they were meant to sound. And they were good!

The first song 'Nerve' had a dramatic intro and was packed with harmony which was just so catchy with a unique and special style. Each guy in this band is so talented and I know now, why something drew me to go and see them this night. They are definitely going to be big! The piano played by Brian Martin was magical and the chorus was so powerful with harmonies sung with such precision I felt a surge of emotion. Wow! Then you have this big crescendo of sound towards a big bashing finish.

'A song for Madness' was a ballad sung quite slowly and with such a gorgeous melody too. There's a big build up to a dramatic chorus then it slows down again towards the end.
I recognised the next song 'Permanent Scar' from the 'Like Kings' c.d. I'd obtained a copy from the lads when I'd met them previously. This number starts with a fast beat and lovely lead and the verse is cheeky followed by a chorus which is just so impressive and with a show stopping key change, it's addictive. It slows down with close sung harmony in the background, then there's a screaming lead guitar solo to bring you back to the chorus. Perfect!
'Wittenberg Stars' was fourth with a choppy riff to start off. Like this entire band's stuff it was refreshing and had wonderfully touching lyrics with lots of sweet changes throughout, the chorus being the main attraction. I feel so alive listening to these guys. They do this accapello bit, just before the middle eight. Then a tremendous guitar solo brought you back to the chorus which is well worded 'It doesn't get much better than this!'
This band finished with a song called '4a.m.'which had a very rock feel to it unlike any of their previous songs. It just showed how versatile they are and there were no holes barred as they ripped into bashing chords and sliding guitar solos. It slowed down to an unexpected softly sung finish. Brian Nolan thanked everyone and wished the audience a good night.
Before the judges took the podium to crown the winners of the Battle of the Bands for the trinity ball, 'The Coronas' performed a fabulous set. They were brilliant and the crowd were euphoric! They sang 'Sleep all day and drink all night' which was amazing and went on to play a rip roaring set that I wished could go on all night. The lead singer reminisced about how they won a Battle of the Bands competition four years ago in U.C.D.
Eventually when they finished, the M.C. came onstage to thank everyone for participating and the audience for coming. He introduced the judges and they in turn announced the winners, 'Killer Chloe'. The standard was so high that it would be impossible to pick a best from what I had seen. I was a little bit disappointed that 'Like Kings' didn't win since they were the reason for my being here. Mick Birmingham, the guy who organised this competition said as I was leaving, that all of the bands were brilliant but only one could win. Also that Brian and his troupe are well on their way to success anyway. I totally agree.
From what I hear the Trinity Ball was a total success and 'killer Chloe' did a fab job. Well done lads. I wish I could have been there and hope it was everything you dreamed it would be!

Review written by: Angela Macari - O'Looney --

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