Published: 23/01/2014 09:00 - Updated: 23/01/2014 09:13

Semi-Final 2 Preview: The Eagle Battle Of The Bands

Written byLocal Bands

Battle o' the Bands
Not pictured: the battle raging around this man and his band.

Six heats. Six bands. Two semi-finals. Three bands. One final. One prize. One tortured opening to a preview piece. Shut up, so-called “What's On North”, and tell us about them, eh? Alright then.

This weekend sees the two-legged semi-finals of the Eagle's Battle Of The Bands. Over the course of the weekend six bands will play their hearts out – but of those only three will make it to the final for their chance of winning that grand prize of a professionally recorded song and video (and don't forget the National BOTB chance!). Here, musical luddite Kyle Walker goes over the acts for Saturday's semi-final.

Bring Back VHS

The first of a big acoustic double whammy at semi-final two sees Bring Back VHS, who are technically acoustic-rock. They're good, obviously – The Eagle's not picking heat winners based on great band names. Quite laid back, they provide the sort of music that provokes introspection rather than heated headbanging, often sounding like early Red Hot Chili Peppers when they were looking inward. That's probably the highest compliment I can pay a band like this – just go and listen to them already.

Hired Guns

It warms the cockles of my heart to see this band in the semis – there isn't enough big, brash Iron Maiden-esque bands doing the Highland circuit in my opinion. As I said in their Heat 4 preview, Hired Guns are just a lot of fun to listen to, all harmonic guitar riffs and Dickensonian singing, with big silly song names like “Apollo's Triumph”. They're just. So. ROCK.

Cryptic Keys

The other acoustic-type band to face off in this Heat, Cryptic Keys are more mellow than Bring Back VHS. Indeed, they're the most obviously “pop” band of the six semi-finalists – which I mean as nothing but the highest of praise. Their melodies are catchy, the guitar-playing is sublime, their vocal harmonies superb and their song “Jumping Trains” is building up quite the head of steam on the ol' social media, reaching over a thousand plays. Add to that tally by listening to it, it's a great song. (we've also got an interview with them here - find out what they like and how they formed)

Semi-Final 2 of The Eagle's Battle Of The Band contest takes place on Saturday 25th. If you're an aspiring musician currently beating your chest with rage having not entered, don't worry – we have our own contest where you can win a slot at Belladrum Festival! For more information, go to

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