Battle of the Bands – The 8th Bridge, Redmoth, Inferno Ortum.
I arrive early, meeting my contact from The 8th Bridge outside the venue The Windsor Arms a traditional local public house in the centre of Penarth town. Ben (bass) is outside chilling and chatting with the other guys from the band: G (drums), Danny (lead guitar) and Sean (vocals/rhythm guitar). It has been a year since I have seen these guys and this is my first meeting with their new front man Sean Williams. The guys are all welcoming, down to earth and getting hyped ready for the show.
The event was organised by a new group of people known as Penarth Music Co-op, a small bunch who want to bring and maintain a diverse music scene to Penarth and Barry starting with tonight’s event ‘Battle of The Bands’. The 8th Bridge are joined by two other bands, Redmoth and Inferno Ortum. I hear from one of the judges, Jake (a radio presenter from Cardiff radio), that the prize for the winner is a day studio time and the opportunity to play at the upcoming Kymin open air festival, which by anyone’s standards is a pretty good prize.
The bands all pull tickets out of a hat to decide upon order of performance, which leads to The 8th Bridge opening, followed by Inferno Ortum and Red Moth. The guys are not sure how to take the slot, but get on with it anyway.
The 8th Bridge get up on stage and begin, opening with a heavy Metallica-esque track with bags of energy. ‘Nowhere Fast’ comes in strong, and Sean takes a step down off guitar to focus on the vocal which seems to pay off. From experience I can tell you that to play and sing at the same time can be difficult, and generally either the vocal or guitar playing takes a hit. Danny shows his guitar skills during the guitar solo with some melodic work. The drums and bass are tight and hit hard working well together. ‘Hard To Breathe’ has some nice changes and hints to oldskool metal; however, at this point I am beginning to hear the bands inexperience and you can tell it is their first gig together. ‘The 8th Bridge’ starts off mellow and gives Sean the chance to sing well without having to shout over the rest of the band in the small confines of the venue.
The band’s overall performance was ok – a couple of tempo issues with ‘Cops!’, some ‘bum’ notes on the vocals but nothing more practise and gigs wouldn’t fix. They have a good backbone to work with, and their sound is developing well. Check these guys out if you like Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden.
Inferno Ortum take the stage and I begin to get a little worried as to what I have let myself in for! The band looked a little terrifying, and once the lead singer started speaking in his grunting demonic possessed voice I really was worried. I had no idea what the vocalist was saying or singing throughout the entire performance, and very rarely saw his face as it was hidden behind his ‘Cousin It’ haircut. The constant screaming, growling and shouting gave me a headache early on and it was difficult for me to sit through the entire set. Saying that though, they seemed to have a big following with them. At least half of the room were bobbing along and whipping their hair about like helicopters in time with the music. The guitarist, although a little vampiric, was very skilled athis trade. He had some very good playing ability with perfectly timed techniques throughout the entire show. The bassist did his job well although there was never anything stand out-ish from him apart from once when he was head banging and nearly fell over!! Drums I’m sorry to say, were weak. There was no power behind the sticks – he kept missing beats, clicking and dropping his sticks. Personally, I would say he was well behind the rest of the band with regards to ability. If these guys had a little less screaming within their ‘Nordic’ tales and the occasional melody in the vocal, I would
Redmoth. At first glance I saw the female drummer, telecaster-toting guitarist,school teacher looking musos and super-confident, over-excited boy vocalist – initial thought was, ‘hmmmmm indie…’ How wrong could I possibly be?!!not mind listening to them as there were some guitar sequences that were truly impressive.
Through the shouting you can hear some strong melodies heavily influenced by bands like Incubus. The band are tight as hell, and the drummer beats the gonads out of the kit with such preciseness it blows me away!! Guitar riffs are good, fast, hard and very well executed. At one point during a guitar solo the person sitting next to me looked less than impressed as it was just one or two overly simple notes until the lead guitarist ripped a beautifully fast scale without batting an eyelid!! I like this band, if only the vocalist would pull it back just a little then they would be frikkin’ awesome!!
The songs are good, hard rocking tracks with a lot of soul. The chord sequences are well written and equally well played throughout every song. The dynamics between the band are good, and the gigging experience shows as they are unbelievably tight, most notably with song ‘Fix This’. My first impressions of Red Moth were very wrong, and I apologise now to those offended by my pre-misconceptions. They are a very skilled and talented group from South Wales who know how to write and perform hard-hitting, old fashioned rock songs. I look forward to hearing more from them in the future. Check them out if you like Incubus, Audioslave or Aerosmith.
So the time has finally come for the announcement and everyone makes their way back into the venue to hear the results. The three judges get up on the stage and explain their reasons for who they have picked. And the winner is…….. Redmoth!!! I would totally have agreed with that decision, they were tight and had more depth and variety within their set than the other two bands. Well done to everyone who performed, even the consolation prizes were good with the other two bands winning a bottle of whisky and a bottle of iron brew to wash it down!!! Overall a good night and a good laugh. If you get chance, try to catch these guys at a gig near you as they are all good, well nearly all.