Wandsworth Music Blog – Bands @ The Bedford

Bands @ The Bedford!

On Tuesday 31st January a mixture of Wandsworth Music Academy and Chestnut Grove bands performed at the Bedford pub in Balham.

Seven bands performed in total, the age of the performers ranged from 11 all the way up to 18. The venue was absolutely packed and the audience were treated to hits from Queen, Marvin Gaye, to Rihanna!

One of the WMA bands, The Gen Zees, opened up the show and were in fine form. A particular highlight was a very sensitive performance of ‘No Surprises’ by Radiohead. A personal favourite of mine! It was lovely to hear the dulcet tones of Sarah Akunjee’s saxophone. Next up were another WMA band, the Meteors (apparently the band name has divided opinion within the band!). They had great energy, particularly from the lead singer, Luca. ‘Stand by me’ featured an accomplished solo by Arthur Chandler. And also a special mention for Makisig who started off ‘Sweet Child O Mine’

South West Fires, who are the current holders of the best ensemble prize in the Wandsworth Young Musician of the year competition, were next to grace the stage. Last year alone they played the Bedford, Battersea band stand and Winter Sounds at the Fairfield Halls. All this performing experience is paying off as they sounded very tight on the night. The crowd particularly enjoyed the Bohemian Rhapsody/Layla mash up!

The last of the WMA bands to perform were the Undergrads. Nice to hear Candice on synth for their cover of ‘Bliss’ by Muse. They played a wide range of styles, and played with real panache. Their cover of ‘Umbrella’ had the crowd singing along (particularly the youngsters up on the mezzanine!)

The brilliantly named Thistleton Smiths (the drummers surname!) were the first of the Chestnut Grove bands to play. Their claim to fame is they have recorded a song and video for a royal mail advert, but they don’t like to talk about it apparently. But boy did they deliver on the night (I’m here all week!). Their rendition of ‘Stillness in time’ was sublime. The band setting up a very funky groove. A special mention to Neha who played both guitar and flute on the song (come and hear her play flute with the Wandsworth Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall on 28th March!) The Students, who have only been together for one term, then took to the stage. They played with real confidence. They played two songs, ‘Erase Me’ and ‘Hunting’. It was a very unique and interesting sound with only one guitar and two keyboards!

The last band of the night were Increscent. Their first gig was last June at the Bedford, and they are in the process of recording their first album. From their very first chord they blew the roof off making a massive sound for a quartet! They played a lot of their own music, which was great to hear. But there was also time for a Chilli Peppers cover. Some great bass playing from Isaac (Isaac started group Cello lessons with Lydia at WMA when he was  in year 4!!). Their lead singer, Kian,  switched between guitar and tambourine with a aplomb. A couple of the tracks featured some breath taking guitar solos from Oscar. And a big shout out to the their drummer, a WMA stalwart, Yusuf , who played in three bands during the night.

All in all an absolutely fantastic night. The children all performed brilliantly. A big thank you Rich the sound man. And to John and Dalibor for their hard work and enthusiasm in getting the bands ready for the night. We will be back at the Bedford on June 20th!

John Kilshaw – Wandsworth Music