O2 Academy, Bournemouth

The Longest Day/New Volunteer/County Hospital/Evolver/Cella Creeps/Fearne

The five bands in the Final have all had to go through the same process of playing through the various heats and Semi Finals to get to this point, they all have deservedly earned their right to be here and to perform in front of the judges for the final time to win the recognition and prizes they seek.

The Longest Day
The Longest Day know this process all too well after going all the way and winning the coveted trophy last year at the Royal Bath Hotel, they get the privilege of opening tonight’s show with a half hour set, a chance to show everyone the reason why they were voted the overall winners last year.

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The band arrive on stage full of confidence, they decide not to play it safe and opt to open with some new material, which is very adventurous and works well for them getting lots of positive noises from the crowd. The bands album ‘The State of Indifference’ is full of heartfelt guitar anthems and they let rip on possibly one of their best numbers to date ‘Kamikaze Dream’ which really shows the bands capabilities with their melodic rock sounded even better in a large venue such as this. They thank the audience and end powerfully with ‘Monochrome’ showing everyone in the place that they are still one of the best rock acts to ever come out of Bournemouth.


New Volunteer
As with previous years a draw has been done as to what order the bands would be appearing onstage and the 1st act on is New Volunteer. The 5 piece band all crowd around the drum kit for the intro to their set, then turn and face the audience and begin the first number. The twin guitar soft pop rock style includes some interesting additions which include synthesizer effects and glockenspiel. After quite a slow paced start the band step up the pace a little with some more upbeat material showing a more powerful side to their sound. As they are first on the audience seem to be a bit quiet with only a smattering of applause at the end of each number along with a few shout outs from their family and friends.

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County Hospital

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The zany County Hospital are up next, they arrive onstage still dressed in their hospital scrubs as with in the semi final, with their drummer in a skimpy nurse’s uniform doing his best to hide his modesty under the drum kit. They zip through what seems like a totally unorganised 30 minute set and it is difficult to tell where one song ends and another starts, you will either get what this band is trying to do or completely miss it, such is the fine line of their performance is, for some reason, a random traffic cone and a road woks sign on stage with the reason for these never becoming apparent. The punked up guitars and comedy antics seem to delight the vast majority of the Bournemouth crowd and there is a notable increase in volume from them as the band leave the stage.

Evolver

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Evolver absolutely are very up for the task in hand and take to the stage with massive confidence, and why not they should be confident, they are four very talented musicians who know how to entertain as we have already seen in the heats and Semi Final, they certainly deserve their place here tonight. The big tunes suit this large venue such as ‘James Song’ and ‘Bring it Back’, they show lots of obvious influences, but their is something very original in the way the band perform. The guitarist Ed Graves has a very natural talent and his skills are endless with a style all of his own, you can hardly take your eyes off him when he is performing, with the biggest cheer saved for a special trick Ed and the Bassist Rolo create by playing each others guitars. They leave the stage and I watch some of their parents gathered at the front looking very proud with their offspring’s efforts.


Cella Creeps

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Tonight is a double edged sword for Cella Creeps, they were here in the Final last year in the form of Mutant Vinyl, they have another chance again. The 1st thing Edwin the lead vocalist announces to the audience is “We are Cella Creeps and we like music alot”. Edwin and Marc take full advantage of the large stage by covering lots of ground, using buckets full of energy creating a performance that they should be proud of. The stand out song ‘Mercury Pit’ combines heavy electronic effect guitar sound coupled with some killer bass rifts.There is have a lot of support here tonight and masses of fans create a mosh pit on the dance floor throughout their set.

Fearne

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I am sure it just luck that Fearne have got the final slot of the night, it somehow seems that this has been mapped out for them in a night that sees the band pull out the performance of their lives, their fans are out in force with home made banners and masses of vocal support which is be a massive boost for the band. As they perform their catchy pop songs such as ‘Closer’ and ‘Throw A Stone’ the audience lifts the band singing along like a rehearsed choir, creating a very special and emotional atmosphere. I’m not sure if we have a sex symbol in lead singer Alex Beds but their were plenty of girls throwing bra’s at him during his set and like a professional he did not even bat an eyelid. They left the stage and the noise in the hall was deafening with their fans chanting “We Want Fearne, We Want Fearne” over and over.


The 15 minutes the judges took to make up their minds, must have seen like an age to all the finalists, finally the bands all gathered onstage in front on a very vocal audience, who were still chanting “We Want Fearne, We Want Fearne”. The host took control and calmed everybody down, introducing the various representatives of the three festivals to announce who they have chose to, the results came out as follows:
Endorse It In Dorset Festival: County Hospital

Beach Break Festival: Fearne

Larmer Tree Festival: Fearne

Finally Steven Machat who was one of the main judges took to the stage and gave a brief speech about the quality of the performances tonight, stating that there are no losers, he waffled for a few minutes with a seemingly well prepared speech about his experience within the music industry, however no one was really listening, all everybody wanted to know was the name of the winner, he cut short his words due to the pressure from the impatient audience and announced that ‘Fearne’ were the winners. The place went wild with emotion, the four members of ‘Fearne’ stepped forward to once again take their applause and this time to collect the coveted trophy. Alex, Adam, Nick and Darren had huge smiles on their faces and possibly tears in their eyes, looking like they could not quite believe what had just happened. The competition is certainly going from strength to strength giving everybody a great insight in to local music, long may it continue if the quality stays as good as this. Despite Fearne being the winners nobody should forget any other the other great bands that had performed in the Final and the Semi Finals, the standard has been very high.

http://www.thelongestday.biz
http://www.myspace.com/newvolunteer
http://www.myspace.com/countyhospital
http://www.myspace.com/evolveruk
http://www.myspace.com/cellacreeps
http://www.myspace.com/fearne
http://www.dorsetmusicawards.co.uk

Pictures by Chinners and Jon.
Words by Chinners.

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