Pocket Dust through after nail-biting second semi final
The second Battle of the Bands semi-final at The Horn at the Half Moon Inn was another closely-fought affair, with Harlow’s Pocket Dust narrowly pipping Camisayo from Cambridge and Hertfordshire’s The Hanging Bandits to the post.
Pocket Dust will meet Riviera and the winners of this week’s third semi in the grand final on Saturday March 9.
The Hanging Bandits were a spirited opening band last Thursday (Jan 17) with mid-tempo songs that grooved along nicely, keyboards adding interesting texture.
Hailing from "all round Hertfordshire – and Spain", the bandits comprise Alex Laurence on guitar and vocals, Andy Fletcher on bass, Santiago Wais on drums and keyboard player Thomas Saxby Farncombe.
Originating from Harlow and armed with plenty of fans, Pocket Dust (@pocketdustuk) were next up. They are musically tight and their material is consistently interesting to listen to, helped along by the quick hands of drummer Curtis Miley.
Their hooky and catchy songs were instantly likeable, and their self-titled track Pocket Dust was a favourite. Very much in the Jamiroquai funk ilk, it featured some nice slap bass work from Alan Everett.
Everett lived up to the band’s name throughout the set by staying right in the pocket of each song. Frontman Darren Ball has a good vocal, especially in the upper parts of his range, and guitarist Jack Findel found his chance to shine with some tidy lead work.
Pocket Dust threw in a cover of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition with some driving rock elements to it, which went down well with the crowd. It wouldn’t surprise me if Nile Rodgers’ Chic was an integral part of the band’s record collection.
Female-fronted Camisayo brought about quite the change, especially as husky-voiced Parisienne Camille Boulay started off by playing a ukulele. Their music sounds fun and bouncy, and was distinctly un-January in nature, bringing an acoustic flavour to proceedings.
Camille also brought the audience onside with good humour and encouraged clapping and singing straight away, an offer that was accepted. She was joined on stage by Tom Penn (vocals and guitar), Will Brown (bass) and Ollie Newman (drums).
The band had some pleasing vocal harmonies, Tom’s guitar playing immediately caught the attention, and overall Camisayo had a strong connection and rapport with the audience. A video and recording of their single Keep Smiling will be out on April 12.
In the end, there was very little to choose between the bands, and a mere two votes separated Pocket Dust from Camisayo, carrying the Harlow boys through.
The third and final semi-final takes place tomorrow night (Thu) and the line-up is Vertigo, Modern Comforts and Dan Thomas. Tickets are £5 in advance and £7 on the door from www.thehornbs.co.uk.