If you want to make a name for yourself in the local scene, Clash of the New Breeds is the place to start.
Volume Control‘s annual Battle of the band’s inspired competition has once again become a Sound of Belfast highlight (definitely not bias as a Volume Control member myself), this eminent showcase of young local talent never fails to utterly blow me away. To me, Clash is the event of the year. The ability to bring together 6 of Northern Ireland’s most passionate up-and-coming acts to stage their skills in a safe environment for young people is so important, not to mention the competitive entertainment of it all.
As the strategically themed 80s disco ball glimmered and the first few excited faces awaited the first act, the venue began to flood with young music lovers, this is what its all about. Paranoid took to the stage, instantly enthralling the crowd with their spirit, no sense of first-act anxiety, true performers with an eminent fan base singing along. Classic indie rock perfection, relishing in confidence.
Next up, Finn Martin, a young shoegaze solo artist mixing it up with wistful original riffs and a notable Slowdive cover, the 90s alt rock resurgence is truly following through and it’s remarkable, especially with such a skilled young artist. The crowd grows bigger and bigger, the anticipation for more talent and vivacity in the packed room sparkling.
Our next act, and arguably my favourite, coming in third place, Makeshift Art Bar. There’s only one word to describe these guys- cool. As they take the stage with their inspiring style and effortless vibe, they play post-punk music in a way that feels so retro yet adapts a modern spin, reminiscent of Fontaines DC and The Murder Capital.
Straight on after, Ruairidh Davis charmed the audience with his 2010’s pop heartthrob personality and soothing voice expressing lyrics of naivety and passion. I believe that the solo artists of the evening really shone, specifically next act Anna Bradley, our second-place winner. She managed to command the stage so easily, as she sung in an ethereal manner that reminded me of Boygenius through catchy yet inquisitive tunes.
Our last act, and coincidentally overall winner, Vice Hama. This humble duo is a truly new discovery, possessing insane instrumental talent that simply blew the crowd away, many whispers of awe overheard. I had the privilege to announce their win, which brought indescribable joy.
A Clash tradition that I adore is our special guest act as the votes are counted, the soundtrack to the anticipation. This year we were so fortunate to have Tramp, newly winners of NIMP’s ATL Act of the Year. Our special guest reflects what our applicants aspire to, and Tramp are the perfect example of this. The adoring crowd sang along to ‘Snakes and Rabbits’ (It hits every time) and danced away, what a way to end the night.