I attended the Best Of The Fest final which took place at the Seaxe Room at the Essex Arms on Friday. Four very different artists were taking place to fight for a slot at this year’s Flag Factory Festival, which takes place on 12-13 September at the White Horse in Coxtie Green Road. And the event was well attended too with about 100 people packing out the small room.
First band of the evening were Killing Jimmy, who count Sum 41, Nirvana and Metallica among their influences but a great snarl from lead singer Rosie mad the whole sound more reminiscent of L7 and Hole.
Next up we had Flares, who we first met at last year’s inaugural Flag Factory Festival. They’ve come on in leaps and bounds since then, honing their indie tunes and building up quite a repetoire as well as a good local following. They even included a Slade cover in your set – if you’re going to call yourself Flares and you don’t wear them yourselves, you might as well pay homage to a band that did …
We Stand Tall were the next band on stage. A metalcore band from south Essex, they took charge of the stage with great energy and enthusiasm.
The final act was Matthew Haslam Hammond. If you want to guarantee getting pretty much everyone to singalong, acoustic covers of Disney songs is a unique way of achieving this! Matthew ended up delivering a long set with a couple of encores.
At the end of the evening organiser Olly Hookings took to the stage to announce how much he disapproves of music-judging competitions – he said music is an artform and it’s not for people to state who’s “better” or “worse” than anyone else – something we at Phoenix FM agree with wholeheartedly! The obvious conclusion was to declare all four acts as the winners, and you can see them all again next month at the Festival.