The KWV Acoustic Battle is a music competition which sees soloists and bands battle it out for a chance to win great prizes.
The Eagle’s Hotel California – the live version – has somewhat become an anthem for Blend Restaurant & Bar. The packed drinking hole and eatery is locked in self-contemplation soon as the song comes on. However, by the second chorus everyone is singing along. It is a great nostalgic song; even for the relatively young crowd. And fitting for the venue, it is “such a lovely place.” Not much unlike Hotel California diverse people gather for different reasons – “some dance to remember, some dance to forget.”
But on 25 July 2017 they all gathered for one reason: the semi-finals of the KWV Acoustic Battle of the Bands.
Liv Die’s harrowing bass strums opens on a sombre mood, covering Amy Winehouse’ classic, Back to Black. Her alto commands the crowd into attention. For her original composition she goes a little country and she croons her way through her blues. She’s not short of an advice though: walk away, and “just smoke a joint”
A gifted musician no doubt. Her third song gets the crowd randy and they clap along with her. She went in so hard she needs a minute’s break to fix the strings she snapped from that rowdy rendition.
For the penultimate song she invites the crowd to sing along to I Love Rock ‘n Roll and they lap it up.
Jonathan & JC
The duet by Jonathan & JC makes a deceptively smooth transition from sound check into a lively tune and gets everyone shouting from the top of their voice. La la la!
Jonathan is the outspoken of the two. He offers somewhat spirited preambles for each of their songs before they break mid-speech. He never misses a chance to offer casual smirks at his beholden audience. Neither is he ever reluctant to offer a shout out to his silent partner JC, also on strings.
Each performance is punctuated by profuse gratitude, almost as if it is the audience that is giving them a super performance.
Tokyo and the Sexwhales
This is the only non-all-strings band, spotting a guitar and percussion. And they hit them both hard – yanking the audience off their half-time induced lethargy. They perform all originals. One man on strings and vocals, screaming his way through the hard melodies. The other following – chasing rather – frantically on the djembe. It’s an exhilarating duet.
All these performances are the reason many check out but never leave, just like in Hotel California. It might be a competition, a battle as so named, but it is nothing but a family squabble. Liv Die and Jonathan & JC pair up after the competition to prove this point as they play together while the organisers collect scoresheets from the crowd entrusted with selecting the winner.
The KWV Acoustic Battle of the Bands kicked off on the first Tuesday of July. It was an open call for all bands in the city to compete.
This semi-final was the fourth instalment. This season will culminate in the final on 8 August 2017. With a new season commencing in September, the call is already out for bands to battle it out. Much like Hotel California, there’s ‘plenty of room.’
Question is, how many will say they “heard a mission bell”?
Photo credits: Blend Restaurant & Bar