Battle of the Blues
Battle of the Blues is a competition for UK unsigned blues bands sponsored by Tourism New Brunswick. After regional heats and a final the winning band travel to the Fredericton Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, one of North America’s top jazz and blues festivals and among the top festivals of any kind in Canada.
The 2012 Battle of the Blues final was at The Garage in Highbury. Five blues bands were competing for the chance to perform at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Last years winners, 24 Pesos, had gone down a storm at the 2011 festival and were headlining the evening. The quality of the bands in the final was significantly better than the inaugural Battle of the Blues in 2011. Paint it Blue from Bournemouth narrowly missed out on the final last year and had come storming back to the final in 2012. Solo act Chris James had competed in the final in 2011 and was returning in 2012
For me Paint it Blue and Groove-A-Matics gave the best performances of the night. Having heard Paint it Blue in the regional finals the previous year and seen how they had both matured and improved I was inclined to give them the top place. The judges thought differently and Groove-A-Matics were given the trip to New Brunswick. They deserved it too.
24 Pesos, who had won the 2011 final, entertained us with a set. The Harvest Jazz and Blues experience showed. The band showed a marked improvement on the previous year but had still retained the unique style that is their own.
The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival (for an article on the festival click here) is an annual event held in the old district of downtown Fredericton. It is unique in that there are over 20 venues, 250 performances and is very intimate in nature. The bands love it, the people love it and I love it.