On a dark and windy night, six advertising-employed goth bands slithered into the King’s Arms, fishnets, face powder, bad eyeliner and all, to pay homage to the likes of 1980’s goth bands The Cure, The Cramps and movement-starters Bauhaus. And despite straying from the theme and playing songs which you couldn’t really call gothic, Colenso BBDO aka Pegasus and the Job Numbers were crowned the winner of this year’s Battle of the Ad Bands organised by CAANZ and Flying Fish, after a polished and upbeat set that wooed the crowd and judges alike.
As is custom, ticket holders were invited to pick up a shot of their choice on the door (tequila, a whiskey-coffee fusion and Sambuca were among the choices). We (my colleague and I) threw them back, felt the burn and entered the dim-lighted King’s Arms where we were met with packed-out bar with a lot of spikey black hair, leather jackets, big boots, black nail polish, corsets and white face paint.
The MC for the night was radio DJ and former member of glam metal group Push Push Mikey Havoc. The judges were Hauraki DJs Angie Boyd and Leigh Hart as well as M+AD editor David Gapes.
Each band that entered was required to perform one original song and two covers around the theme 'goth'.
Fatal Death (Clemenger BBDO/Proximity) kicked off the night perfectly en-theme, walking up to the stage looking downcast, with all members dressed in black and one singer, dressed as a goth bride, holding a toy baby which she swung around as she sang. The other singer/guitarist has his face painted with KISS-style makeup as he addressed the crowd in a booming horror-movie styled voice. They began with the Bee Gee’s 1979 hit Tragedy, (but in a guitar and drum-heavy goth style, of course), before going onto their original which included the great line: “I fucked myself with the devil’s dildo”. These guys were hardcore. A violin also added to their set nicely, giving it a neoclassical sound with a dark gothic edge. They then went onto their last number, a heavy rendition of Britney Spears’s Hit me Baby one more Time which got the crowd moving.
Fatal Death aka Clemenger BBDO/Proximity
Next Flying Fish were up with their group Goth Darnitt and the Self Flagellation Foundation which began with 1980’s classic Echo and the Bunnymen’s The Killing Moon much to any Donnie Darko fan's delight. While they weren’t dressed as outrageously gothic as their predecessors, there was a bit of eyeliner strewn around, a longhaired, leather jacket-donning bass player and vocalist, and (my favourite) a guitarist with a dyed blue beard. Unfortunately, this band had no original song, but the crowd was treated to a “cover of a cover” and while the judges took notice of this, Lloyd was willing to be forgiving due to the longhaired headbanger on vocals.
Goth Darnitt and the Self Flagellation Foundation aka Flying Fish
Third up, was the self-described “horniest band” with Whybin\TBWA’s The Dooyahs, with one member sporting a gloriously impressive beard. Their set was upbeat and the frontwoman really got the crowd going and made sure the masses moved forward and began thrashing around in true goth style, or maybe the style is actually looking downcast with arms folded standing in a dark corner, anyway it worked. The vocal range on this woman was impressive as they burst into the song Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure and between songs made japes about how “Bitter and twisted we can be in the advertising industry”. They finished with Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood (because T Swift is the most gothic singer of them all) much to the crowd’s delight.
Fourth up were Pegasus and the Job Numbers aka Colenso BBDO with a cracker of a set which saw them taking home the winner's trophy at night’s end. Colenso clearly didn’t get the memo on the theme however, with about three quarters of the band wearing Mexican ponchos and Sombreros. What they lacked in theme, they made up for in skill however, with a very talented vocalist and tight and tidy instrumentalisation. The guitarist was also an epic shredder. Their set had a more funk/disco feel to it which got everyone grooving and then they finished off with Amy Winehouse number Valerie which had the crowd enthusiastically singing along. The judges were pretty pleased but said their lack of theme could make or break their chance of winning, with Gapes saying: “The gothic theme was lost, but that was the best band yet.”
The second to last band was Barnes, Catmur & Friends group Friends Electric, and electric it was, with each and every member dancing and rocking out with great enthusiasm. Particularly the guitarist and co-vocalist Daniel Barnes who sashayed about the stage with his guitar and sported a massive grin throughout the whole set. In fact, he was so enthusiastic at one point he leaned back to praise the heavens with his guitar fret board and knocked the microphone right off its stand, which he quickly kneeled down and replaced in a flurry before carrying on with full force. The attire of the band couldn’t be considered gothic, they seemed a bit more punk to me with Barnes donning a camo jacket and a belt made of bullets, the vocalist wore a neat black dress which was a little more themed. The band rocked out to a song by The Cure and also played David Bowie’s We could be Heroes. The judges were interrupted from taking selfies to give their verdict and were impressed across the board with Gapes giving a 10 out of 10 for performance and Hart saying it was good but mentioned the importance of song choice.
The lucky last band to play on the night was OMD, or rather, The Chase which had brought with it a huge entourage of fans/colleagues chanting “O-M-D, O-M-D, O-M-D”. They stuck to theme in regard to attire with one vocalist wearing a black dress, lace gloves with a black spider tattoo on her collarbone. The other singer was all in black with leather hot pants and fishnets. One member stood in particular with his long black, spikey wig and the guitarist had black-and-white joker style face paint on. They started off with a beautifully performed version of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams to warm up the crowd, before moving to a heavier original with some great guitar licks. They ended their set with Depeche Mode’s (later covered by Marilyn Manson) Personal Jesus which got the crowd jumping up and down and singing along, left with a lingering feeling that this band were definite contenders for the winning title.
The Chase aka OMD
The winners, Colenso BBDO were awarded with a production run of their very own designed ice cream flavour from Much More Ice Cream, a music video by Fish&Clips, a day’s online production at MandyVFX, a $500 lunch at Prego, Grey Goose vodka and most importantly, the coveted BOTAB trophy.
- StopPress is waiting on more photos and will add them as they're received.
Note: This article originally stated that Fatal Death was Colenso BBDO and Hauraki DJ Angie Boyd's name as Angie Lloyd.