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Student Musicians Rock Battle of the Bands

Friday, 02 May 2014

This year’s Battle of the Bands was as popular as ever, with pupils from the Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions crowding the Arts Centre to enjoy the music. There was a lively atmosphere as each band took to the stage to wow the audience with just two pieces.

Thirteen bands initially entered the competition, but Mr McMinn and Mr Booth had narrowed it down to just five on the day: Ultra Violet (Year 10), last year’s winners Off Piste (Year 12), Waiting for the Weekend (Year 12), 2012 winners Absolution (Year 13) and Parallel Oreos (Year 9).

The style of music was largely rock and grunge, with covers of popular tunes from bands such as Guns ‘N’ Roses and My Chemical Romance, but pop music was also in evidence. All of the entrants were of an extremely high calibre, as is the case every year, making the final decision particularly difficult!

The judging fell to Aziz Ibrahim, a professional musician and song writer. He is perhaps most famous for his work with Simply Red, The Stone Roses, and Ian Brown. He has also been a member of the H Band, contributed to The Players’ first album, and has produced his own music albums.

Aziz is the latest in a string of judges with strong connections to the world of music. Recent judges of the competition have included Tim Thomas of Blueprint recording studio in Manchester, and two Old Boys: broadcaster Mark Radcliffe and Sir Tony Wadsworth, former Chairman and CEO of EMI.

On stage in the Arts Centre, Aziz told the assembled students: “All the bands performing today were winners. I have been really impressed by the quality. I am disappointed that nobody has tried bribery or corruption as that can go a long way in rock and roll!

“You are very lucky to have such facilities and equipment to make use of - in my day at the school I went to it was recorder lessons and that was about it. Don’t take it for granted.  For me, music has opened so many doors and made me so many friends, right around the world. It always allows you to escape what might be going on in the rest of your life. I know many of you will have mums and dads that are pressing you to get good jobs but I urge you to keep going with your music too. For me, it has never been about the music but much more about art, and I can see that you guys are artists. I can tell just by how you play and what you wear what your influences are.

“Anyway, for me, the band that instantly resonated and hit me were the lads from Year 9, the Parallel Oreos; the name grabbed me from the start too!”

He then announced that the competition’s youngest entrants, the Parallel Oreos, would be the overall winner of this year’s Battle of the Bands! After accepting their trophy, the group went on to play a second set to round off Battle of the Bands 2014.

Adam Critchlow, who is the Parallel Oreos dummer, said, “It was fantastic sharing the stage with so many great bands, and then to win was absolutely awesome. It must have been hard for Aziz Ibrahim to choose but we felt proud that someone with his fame and experience chose us. As a band we enjoy a variety of music and play many different styles. We have played at a wide range of venues and hope that winning this will mean we have the chance to play to bigger audiences, perhaps the O2 or Wembley one day, who can say?”

The Senior Rugby Team kindly provided crowd control in front of the stage throughout the event.

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Aziz Ibrahim with the winning band, the Parallel Oreos

Aziz Ibrahim with the winning band, the Parallel Oreos

The Parallel Oreos in action

The Parallel Oreos in action

Waiting for the Weekend were another popular contender for the trophy

Waiting for the Weekend was another popular contender for the trophy