Battle Of The Bands: Brilliant But Flawed
A crowd braved the cold to watch 10 bands in action at Hellenics Sports Club in Harare on Saturday.
In spite of the Harare weather being in typical misbehaviour mode, the crowd huddled together to watch the show.
It was Ba Shupi, The Outfit (Bulawayo), Gravity (Mutare), Evicted, Macy &the Red, Patience Musa & Cynergy, Chikwata.263, Retrospex, Finding Burt and Charles Summerfield & The Urj who threw their hats into the ring for the competition.
DJ Munya Milimo was the MC.
In the first round, each band played 15 minutes of music plus a a jingle for one of the sponsors G Tel. In that they had to play one original song and 2 covers.
After the first round the bands were cut in half – not physically – leaving five contestants who played 10 minutes each. After that the final two would battle it out for the final.
Ultimately it was Macy & The Red and 2013 winners Evicted who were in the final. Their jingles for G-Tel were also the most impressive for us with a special mention for the one from The Outfit.
Evicted retained their crown and walked off with the $1,000 prize.
Musically it was a good night based on a super concept. 10 bands, one of which will be paid by virtue of winning the prize went at each other. Most of them were quality while a few probably would want work on a few of their songs a bit more.
The flawed part. Two of the bands had 2 of the organisers/sponsors in them. Bernie Bismarck played with Patience Musa’s Cynergy while Dominic Benson is bassist for winners Evicted. Bismarck and Benson are partners in BB Music, one of the organisers. On top of that the pair do business with the owner of Misty’s who was one of the judges.
Now, that flaw is not a suggestion or implication of impropriety but it opens the process up to criticism. Evicted are a great group but you don’t want discussions moving away from the music and being about systems.
We took Bismarck to task over this and she said she had not wanted to play, saying the problem was availability of musicians to play in bands. She pointed out how many bands were sharing musicians. Bismarck said that in future she would not be taking part as a musician.
That aside it was a good night out, perhaps the organisers could have had a look at the weather report and provided heaters or mbauras really.
We’ll see what next year’s like. It is entertainment value.