This year, Battle of the Bands was expanded into the new Ref area, as well as the Tav, and while there were no $2 middies, the crowd was a-buzz with excitement. The final placings for the evening were as follows:

  1. St Georges
  2. Uni Hall
  3. St Thomas More
  4. St Catherine’s
  5. Trinity

The quality of the bands this year was very high, and it was definitely a lot less excruciating than my Year 2 talent show, where my friends and I performed a painful (and in retrospective, highly age-inappropriate) rendition of John Cougar-Mellencamp’s “Hurt So Good,” selected from my Dad’s CD collection. While the sheer number of people at uni with considerably more talent than me is irksome, it did make for some fantastic entertainment, and a great reason to not be doing my biostatistics assignment. 

The expansion into the Ref was an interesting one. While it allowed a bigger capacity, eliminating the queues from last year, the separation of the performance area from the Tav meant a lot of people missed a few acts while they were buying drinks. There was a pop-up bar in the Ref itself, selling a limited range of drinks, but without the variety of options available at the Tav bar. The RSD clearly put in a lot of time and effort to bring the show together, and it was overall, a very enjoyable night.

The bands, in order of appearance:

Trinity

I had pretty low expectations for Trin, as when I asked the only person I know there for any inside info about the band they stated that they “don’t know much about them hey” and “they’re all a bunch of weirdos I reckon.” They had a slow start, but they did get better, with a decent rendition of ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’. The unfortunate consequence of performing first was that nobody was drunk enough to really get around them, except for three guys wearing sunnies indoors, who valiantly attempted to get a crowd sway happening, good on you guys. Their male singer managed to inject a bit more energy into their performance of Kiss’ ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ bringing all the swagger you’d expect from someone with a centrally-parted fringe wearing a bandanna. Unfortunately the emanating bad boy vibes were undermined by the bizarre interpretive dance moves from the back-up singers, resulting in a vibe that was a bit more Camp Rock.

Overall, Trin weren’t terrible, but it didn’t change my life. More emotion from the guitar and bass players would have been good to see, but they did what they could with an 8.30 timeslot and a sober crowd. Last place seems a bit harsh, but they were only ever going to get that or 4th, so it really doesn’t matter too much.

Uni Hall

Decked out in their matching green shirts, the Uni Hall band looked like they were about to deliver some hardcore STAR rhetoric, but sooner than I could say, “I’ve already voted,” they were off and away with several songs, none of which were particularly memorable.  Now, while you’d be forgiven for sometimes forgetting Uni Hall even exists, tonight they were making sure you heard them, with an interesting (annoying) use of a loudspeaker. The trumpet player was the real hero of Neon Trees’ ‘Animal’ and tbh I wouldn’t have complained if she had taken centre stage. There was a lot of shouting, some kind of hip-hop vibes (I don’t know the lingo, I’m not down with the kids) but unfortunately they had all the urban angst of a Christian youth band who just found out the Eucharistic wine is non-alcoholic. Bohemian Rhapsody was an ambitious choice as a closing song, and Uni Hall proved why. It was pretty difficult listening, though in all fairness I think the speakers were playing up, which was not adding to the ambiance of the performance. The guitarist single-handedly managed to resurrect the song from its vegetative state, bringing the energy I had been waiting for all night, without even breaking a sweat. They would be a decent enough band to book for your distant uncle’s 50th birthday but were overall pretty uninspiring.

I have no idea how Uni Hall came second, while they definitely weren’t dreadful, they weren’t very exciting. Then again, I must restate that I really don’t have any musical expertise, so perhaps it was fantastic, and I am just a mere village peasant who can’t appreciate good art.

St George’s

There was a lot of excitement surrounding George’s, who were going for the hat-trick of Battle of the Bands wins. Veteran college resident Campbell Beck was, “more hyped than a badger on ketamine,” and Dan Hicks was, “fucked.”

George’s started off very strong, with Queen belter, “Somebody to Love.” Though this song usually causes me some stress as I ponder whether or not I will ever find somebody to love, there was no time for a self-pity party when the best vocal performance of the night was happening right in front of me. As they moved through their repertoire, George’s showed no sign of weakness, and every member of the band well and truly pulled their weight, with a particular highlight being the brilliant performance by their guitarist, demonstrating the over-the-shoulder guitar moves I had waited all night to see.

The reigning victors reinforced their reputation as being the wankers of college row, with members swapping instruments with each other after each song, because they’re “versatile” and “talented” and “at a college with a strong music programme.”

This behaviour was easily forgiven however, as they were fucking good. “Patrick 1” from Trinity said he “had a right ol’ boogie with those cunts from Georges.”

George’s were the clear winner for me, and not just because I used to go there. The three-peat was well-deserved.

St Catherine’s

Cats had an impressive turn-out in the crowd, which goes to show how much college spirit you can achieve when you bribe students to attend events. Despite some interesting choices in the costume department, the enthusiasm of the band was infectious, and I enjoyed the pop diva action from the lead singer. The saxophone was quite a feature across all the bands tonight, and it certainly was a real feature of the Cats’ performance, and the drummer was also rocking out. The energy elevated for their foray into mid-noughties sensations, the Veronicas, but alas, even some of the notes remained Untouched, but the girl on guitar was really cool and I want to be her friend. The set got better with ‘Everybody Talks’ but it didn’t quite reach the bar set by Georges. The cringiest moment of the whole night was the call and response led by the lead singer, spelling out St Catherine’s, in long form, which brought me back to my primary school days when I led my school to victory in tunnel-ball.

4th place was probably appropriate, however I personally would have placed them ahead of Uni Hall, I thought they brought far more energy to their set.

St Thomas More

I had an insider tip that the Tommy band was to feature, “a lot of hairy boys” and boy I was not disappointed. They had a very solid start with Ball Park Music’s “She Only Loves Me When I’m There,” which proved to be a hit for increasingly more intoxicated crowd. Apparently some of the guys from the band already play in a band together, which showed in the cohesion of their performance, lacking in some of the previous bands. Tommy went from strength to strength, with So Fresh classics “Summertime” and “My Happiness,” really getting the crowd involved, including the unfortunate intrusion of some dabbing stage invaders. The obscured faces of the long-haired drummer and guitarist really added to the contemporary festival vibe. I appreciated their spotlight on Australian music in their song selection (except for Sticky Fingers) and it was overall a really enjoyable set, which as Jonno from George’s remarked, “felt like you were listening to a legit live band.”

I thought Tommy was robbed of 2nd place, they and George’s were the only bands to smash every song, and capture the excitement of all the colleges in the crowd, not just their own.

Closing thoughts:

4 stars- would go again.

Eloise Skoss | @elo_sko

Eloise sometimes gets upset thinking about the Rogue Traders breaking up.