NKOLE NKOLE, Lusaka
THE new-look Burning Youth, made up of mostly children of the original outfit that emerged from Kitwe’s Chamboli township, last Saturday emerged winners at the Battle of Bands competition held at Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka.
Four bands went head to head for the finale of the 2017 Battle of the Bands which Radisson Blu organised with the backing of the Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM).
The bands were selected through a shortlisting process held prior to the finale and judges on the night were guitarist Uncle Rex, music producer Ben Blazer, Luciano Haambote of Radio Phoenix and Bright Himambile of Radisson Blu Hotel.
Other bands that competed at the contest, anchored by DJ Len (Lenon Shinde) and DJ Eye Candy (Mayoba Gwaba) of Radio Phoenix, are the Zambia Air Force outfit Air Power, Milz and the Uhuru Vibez and Random.
The Air Power Band was first on the stage and performed a medley of songs that showed off their versatility. Songs by artistes such as Oliver Mtukudzi and Ed Sheeran were sampled by the band whose set was made colourful by three lively vocalists including Alice Chuma of Okondewa fame.
After half an hour and with five songs performed, the judges chipped in their comments.
The band was praised for its experience, having performed in Zambia for many years but was also criticised for not engaging its audience.
Next up was the four piece band Random that was put together specifically for the Battle of the Bands contest.
The band started on a low note which didn’t help the inattentive audience at the back of the room. Their set picked up following their performance of Exile’s Auwe and they completely won the audience over during their rendition of John Legend’s All of Me. For that, they received an enthusiastic round of applause.
Burning Youth was the third band of the night and brought energy to the stage that spread through the entire room. They were the first band on the night to get and keep people on their feet.
Their stage outfits of denim and leather gave them a punk-rock appearance which blended well with their catchy reggae tunes. By the end of their 30-minute set, some audience members were teasing the judges to call an end to the contest and declare them the winners.
But there was one more band still to play, so, the game was not quite over.
Milz and the Uhuru Vibes had a largely ragga themed set that got some patrons skanking and their 30-minute set was just enough to help them emerge second and receive a cheque worth K15,000 after a quick public vote and following performances by all four shortlisted bands.
For being first, the Burning Youth Band, which is under the tutelage of Jack Tembo, the original member, received a cheque worth K20,000 as well as a recording deal with Blazer Studios.