The time is upon us, the event of the year for all up-and- coming bands, and live music enthusiasts alike. Aandklas’ annual Battle of the Bands is back again. A handful of musicians take to the stage and compete to determine who has what it takes to survive the Stellenbosch live music scene. This time, with a grand total of 13 bands competing.
Each band participating in the battle is required to perform 20- 30 minutes of original music, making this event the best place to unearth a new favorite band. You might even discover a new genre yet to be explored, seeing as every type of music is allowed. Multiple judges critique each band on a wide range of different aspects such as; their originality, the interaction between the band and the crowd, performance on stage, overall technique of the band, and the style and structure of their songs. The bands who manage to garner the best score are moved on to the next round.
Once the final round rolls around the remaining bands will go head-to-head to determine who will reign supreme and be crowned the winner of 2023’s Battle of the Bands, Cistamatic and Cape Riot, two bands that performed in the first heat of the battle, have been chosen to move on to the next round. Avalanche and Downtown Gypsies, who performed in the second heat, advanced as well. In the third and final heat of the first round three of the five bands who performed were selected to partake in the next round. Anny Whyte Band, The Govt., and Tussen Die Lyne, were the last band to perform in the evening.
Renée van Niekerk, the vocalist of the band, commented on their performance, “[They started] us off at 11pm […] The pressure was on. […] Soon we grew a crowd of 10 people into 140. We had so much fun, and the excitement carried far into the night. So yeah, magic.”
Aandklas has a specialty for hosting bands, which they most definitely make use of. They play a crucial part in keeping Stellenbosch’s live music scene alive and kicking. 23 Renegades, one of the bands that performed in the first heat, commented on the Aandklas atmosphere.
“We really had fun and we were so happy about the support and energy that the crowd gave us, it’s what we love about Aandklas. No matter who you are at the battle of the bands, if you’re good enough the crowd will respond well.” Last year’s semi-finals included Face Jackson, Splinter Die Band, The Stone Cherries, and the progressive heavy metal band, Prodical, which managed to secure the win.
Many of the bands that have taken part in this event have gone on to play various gigs across Stellenbosch and the rest of the country, making the Battle of the Bands the perfect stepping stone for musicians looking to enter the world of live music. With the semi-finals taking place on 16 and 19 August, the finals on 26 August, and seven bands remaining, the last few rounds are shaping up to be one hell of a show.