Next Big Thing Competition Heat 6
Friday 29th June 2007
Review By Rohan Hewson
Generals And Majors got the difficult first slot on this NBT heat, on a cold and wet night, which meant they played to the judges and about 10 other people. I didn’t see them, but I guess they must have been OK – they came second, and any band named after an XTC song is all right by me. So I’ll see them at the semi.
Bottle Rockets were next. They were all right, but obviously very new, with a few awkward patches in their songs here and there. When the acoustic guitar player picked up a second electric one instead for a song, it became obvious they could use a bass player. The mix of two electric guitars and some very basic drumming needed a whole lot more low end than what it had.
Upton Pilots continued the aeronautical theme, and also the really new band theme. They were more of a full band than Bottle Rockets, but suffered from the same problem: songs that sound like they’ve been written a week ago and played four times. Fortunately, that’s an easier problem to fix than rubbish songs. Once these bands have been playing for a while and figure out their sound, they should be pretty good – I think they call that ‘potential’. I’d pick both these bands to do well in next year’s NBT, if they’re still together then.
Natasha Bouchard played the kind of music you hear on Channel 31 at 2am, Chelsea Lights played the kind of music you hear at the Amplifier Bar at 2am. They were fairly boring, so enough about them.
They played either side of Will Stoker and the Embers, who deservedly won the night. They started out with two keyboards, with their players sitting down. I was thinking ‘some kind of Whitlams band?’. The Whitlams comparison lasted about half a song, and by the end of the set Will had played keyboard, clarinet, harmonica, guitar and sung. Trying to put a genre on what they played would be pointless, so I’ll just say: go and see them. They’re manic, and very good, too.
The Roast were a whole pile of fun. God knows what an eight piece funk band was doing in this comp, but it got people dancing. Not indie-dancing, either – but real shimmying on the floor. I think it’s safe to say that they provided the only trombone solo of the whole NBT competition. We could use more bands with three-piece horn sections.
Anyway… Will Stoker and the Embers go through to the semis along with Generals and Majors, and a heap of other bands from the other heats. See ya there.