Readers of numerous other Birmingham blogs will be aware of Surface Unsigned who, rather unwisely, threatened all manner of legal rubbish on Created In Birmingham just 'cos they printed some terms and conditions. Bad move. We'll gloss over that little incident though. Whether a 'battle of the bands' style contest like this is a good thing or not is up for debate. It seems to me that the good folk of Surface Unsigned are making a buck or two out of the venture though (tickets at £7 a pop, text vote revenue etc). Of course I'm sure they'd argue that they're putting a lot into it too. It all seemed smoothly run and, if nothing else, it gives local bands extra exposure to an audience beyond their core fanbase.
I'd come along to see rising local indie rockstars RiotNight, who kicked everything off in fine style with a set of britpop (old and new) tinged tracks that reminded me of everything from Oasis to The Stones. Lead singer Will's perfecting that rock god swagger (think Liam G meets Tom M), flanked by the formidable pairing of lead guitarist Ishaq and bassist Josh, with Jon providing the kind of powerhorse drumming that drives the whole thing along like a Harley on heat. They've got some impressive tracks too. This Is England in particular is a stompalong classic. A storming wake up call to a sleeping nation. They played a slower track too (didn't catch the name), showing off a different side to the band and a willingness to experiment that few of their competitors attempted. Impressive stuff that saw them deservedly fly through to the next round.
I was impressed by the standard of all the bands in fact. Honourable mentions for the night must also go out to Purple and Sabbeth's funkier brothers, Mutablis, who seem to have brought an army of fans along with them (and an entire merch stand too) along with post rockers In The Back Of The Real (you can't beat a bit of post rock on a Tuesday evening).