Rival Joustas

Emergenza: Stanxa / Paul Went Home / Rival Joustas / Stout / Albion / Seven Days at Knifepoint

Kicking off the penultimate Southampton heat of the Emergenza battle of the bands and hoping for a slot in the semi-finals, Stanxa got off to a musically good start.

The guitars and bass were commendable. The two guitarists played off each other well, with solid rhythms and picky hooks. Sadly, the drums lost their way a couple of times during the set where the double bass drum didn’t quite stay in time. Having said that, the drummer certainly seemed to possess the ability to do better.

With a bit of thought about presentation and some work behind the drums, Stanxa could do a lot better next time round with their Thirst-esque sound.

The name ‘Paul Went Home’ doesn’t take a lot of explaining. Presumably there was a drawn out discussion about band names, which bore no fruit until someone (who may have been called Paul) decided to call it a day!

PWH earned third place and a spot in the semi’s with a skate-punk set that had some pleasingly technical moments alongside the band’s obvious sense of humour. The performance showed that PWH had a fair idea of how to get an audience going and there were lots of vocal hooks to remind you that the songs were okay too.

With the third band up, the riot began. Rival Joustas bounced, rocked, and thrust their way through what can only be described as a great rock and roll set.

All the melody seemed to come from the guitar, leaving the front man with plenty of freedom on the vocals. With the bass guitar firmly establishing the backbone of each song, things couldn’t get much better than this. Then they did. Final track ‘Clarity’ has all the earmarks of a song that could be called the greatest of the night. In fact, it was probably the best song in the whole Southampton leg of the Emergenza competition. Furthermore, it has found it’s way in to my all time top ten! Absolute class and First Place on the night.

Aggressive hard-rockers Stout continued the riot with vigour. Sounding a bit like A and at times a bit like Therapy?, Stout were the most in-your-face band of the night. Coming in second by just 5 votes, it was impossible to witness Stout without getting a generous coating of alcohol, spilled from the chaotic mass of moving bodies that formed a human whirlpool in front of the stage. With some bold vocal and guitar work, there was a lot to grab your attention all going on at once. Absolutely intense and a must see for people who want to rock hard.

Maybe due to the difficulty in following on from this experience, Albion didn’t really peak. There was nothing wrong with the music, the problem here was the lack of performance. Having seen two bands give up so much energy, Albion seemed static.

With one or two good moments, Albion were actually okay – in fact pretty good for such a new band – but they need to make sure that when they add a solo or a drum fill it adds something to the song, otherwise the set can drop in to the ‘muso demonstration’ zone and the songs get somewhat lost.

Seven Days at Knifepoint stuffed some energy back in to proceedings with some thundering bass guitar and a couple of really strong tracks. Using a fairly well-established rock formula, SDAK managed to impress the other bands enough to get through to the semi finals based on the musician vote.

All things considered, the bands that went through seemed like the right ones and the expectation is that we’ll see at least one of these bands in the grand final!

Written by Fenton on

Steve Fenton writes in our music, words, and culture categories. He was Editor in Chief for The Mag and covered live music for DV8 Magazine and Spill Magazine. He was often found in venues throughout the UK alongside ace-photographer, Mark Holloway. Steve is also a technical writer and programmer and writes gothic fiction. Steve studied Psychology at OSC, and Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-1978 at the University of Reading.

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