ACM Winter Live | Issue 2

14 Feb 2024

All first-year students have been writing for the same brief: write a song for the Eurovision contest. Here’s our report by TILLY, Rita, and Rory. 

Libbie Price spent a day with the second years for their own WINTER LIVE featuring their more established groups. 

GUILDFORD, reporter and photographer TILLY 

With a variety of different performances, WinterLive-Eurovision was a great opportunity for first-year degree students to collaborate and perform in their groups. 

With 10 diverse groups performing their project pieces, each act used this opportunity to create different genres within their bands and had a unique style. With genres consisting of alternative rock, hybrid, (electronic and acoustic instruments), R’n’B, theatrical music and many more.

Standouts were Freefalling Troops with Try And Keep Your Faith (Group 2) and their fantastic customised T-shirts bearing the song name; Huw Lloyd and Kieran Francis (Group 6) with What’s Wrong With The World Today and vocalist Eddie Jones alongside keyboardist Leon and Tait, drummer, in my group with Better Place. 

Towards the end of the event, a few students decided to perform their music, and an open jam also took place with a Blues duo from LeLe and Erik Davis. 

The afternoon was an amazing networking opportunity for groups as well, getting to know one another and gaining connections for possible future music projects.

Winter Live is a great opportunity for level 4 students to showcase their talents in a fresh environment both with a safe and easy-going atmosphere and I had an amazing time watching all the groups perform!

LONDON – reporters and photographers RITA and RORY 

ACM’s Winter Live London was a full day’s work. There were so many performances to catch, with groups of amazing creatives. I only joined in the second half of the day. However, I was still able to catch just under half of the day’s performance. 

The first group I watched was group 10, Mystics. I thought this name was quite intriguing, yet it perfectly represented their craft. They performed their song Athena which was a nod to the goddess of wisdom and military victory. This was an angle I hadn’t even considered taking for the brief, which helped show just how good the team was with out-of-the-box thinking. 

From their stage name, I would’ve expected to see a full band in dark clothing and dark makeup delivering an indie rock track. To which they did not disappoint. They didn’t seem to have coordinated outfits but had similar dark aesthetics. The track had a rock feel and it was fun, which helped bring back the Eurovision vision. 

Given all this, their performance delivery felt discombobulated. The solo guitarist was bringing all of the energy to the stage, whereas the other band members seemed unbothered. This can often discredit the work that’s been put in due to the lack of enthusiasm in delivery. The only part I would say needed improvement was their stagecraft, as they didn’t seem united as a band.

After this we had a drummer come up on his own, playing to a track. The drummer and producer seemed to be the only ones in attendance from their group. The backing was missing a click track for the drummer to follow causing him to fall out of time. This seemed to be a recurring issue with many of the bands throughout the afternoon. Besides this, the drummer gave an amazing performance and the song written had a wholesome feel, fitting well with the brief.

Group 13 was overwhelming, visually. All of the team members were up on stage, except the business students. I felt that this was unnecessary as there weren’t enough microphones or stage space for everyone. This was something they were aware of from a previous trial run, yet they seemed to have disregarded it. 

Besides this, the group performed well. They have good chemistry on stage and it shows, except for the rapper who was either hiding or chatting to the crowd instead of his team on stage. 

TBD15, I have to start by simply saying that anything I say about this group may be biased as a member of this team, so I will try to stick to the feedback we were given.

Nate gave the best rap performance of the day, he was enthusiastic and engaging with the crowd, keeping the vibe up even when he didn’t have a main part. 

In the beginning, Rory gave a short yet concise speech to help introduce the team and asked the audience to join in when given the cue. This led to everyone in the room turning on their flashlights towards the end of the song and waving them in the air, creating a feeling of unison.

However, there were slight mixing issues that we can look at more closely next time. As well as the singer lacked stage presence at times due to looking at the floor rather than the audience. This step would’ve helped unite the group and performance that extra step forward.

Moving onto the last group of the night. Closing out Winter Live London we had group four. They left no breadcrumbs! 

Although to begin with I felt overwhelmed by the amount of people on stage, in the end, I was grateful for it. The only instruments on stage were drums, guitar, and five vocalists. They came across as very professional and self-aware, showing that they knew their stage space. 

Not only did they create a catchy R&B track, but also put together a full choreography for their performance. They brought the show to an amazing close, lifting up the room’s energy even more. 

BIRMINGHAM – reporter and photographer Libbie Price 

The Birmingham event was held at the Midlands Art Centre on Friday. Ten different acts ranged from rap to heavy metal scream rock, soul and R & B and reggae. 

The night opened with Regular Faces (Group 1) and they were two best mates playing a mix of indie, rap and electronics – a 90s independent soft rock band with 21st-century rap. Altogether they produced three songs, all originals, all coated in reverb, which added a vibe I liked. 

Stand-out groups were The Mix, a blend of rock and reggae (Group 2); Black And White (Group 3), a mixture of rock and rap. They were very good at getting the crowd involved, even singing along. Rooted (Group 6) were aces. They had a good connection between each other on stage and a theatrical element to their performance, as well as backstage visuals on a projector. They also promoted their album and had merch to sell. It was so interesting to just sit there and take in the experience but I did not expect to cry. That was thanks to solo act, Nicole Blakk, who moved me to tears with her wide range and bilingual and mixed genre influences – ballads and Hip Hop included. 

Cherry Dead, is also worth a special mention: an all-female scream heavy metal rock band with a strong on-stage presence, even though they had to play a woman down – I don’t know how she managed to get her voice to do that. OMG. 

What did we miss?

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