PRESS RELEASE: The GBOB World Final in Berlin 2016
For everyone involved, this may be a kind of high that’s difficult to get over with the next few days.
It was amazing gathering of immensely talented musicians of different musical styles, cultures, humor, from around the world. A few mishaps here and there, and alot of craziness everywhere, an amazing night altogether to remember.
Family, friends, and fans of bands from halfway around the world also were just as present there as the audeinces were in SO36. Kudos to LOCAL STAGE and Pavlos “the Man” for the best livestreaming ever. Not to mention the rest of the online viewers whose puns are forever immortalized in the history of this event.
The GBOB World Final ended with an emotional win as Ukraine took the Championship for the first time in history. SINOPTIK, a psychedelic rock band composed of Dima, Dmitry, and Slava, didn’t expect it at all. A few months ago it was an almost impossible for the guys to get a visa from the German embassy because of the embassy’s schedules, but by some miracle they made it. And miracles do happen for a reason. The band was speechless but managed to thank fans and speak one important message on behalf of their country: PEACE, NOT WAR.
The GBOB World Final was an underground event in SO36, a historic punk venue in Berlin where the likes of David Bowie and Iggy Pop likewise made their mark during the 70s as they were on the brink of fame. That night, the bands not only stood on the same stage as these legends, but also on the same crossroads as where Bowie and Iggy were at the starting point of their lives : upcoming bands with no ego and nothing to lose; only everything to gain.
Each band brought to the stage not only their music, but also a bunch of interesting stories to tell – of the whole journey that led them to Berlin, the challenges, the excitement… the friends and memories that were made, and the future to look forward to.
Michele Waagard, the host of the evening, kicked of the event as the music was played. Michele likewise is a former recording artist, pop star and radio host. She started out her career as a teen model, and then got signed by the biggest record label in Thailand as part of an all-girl band JAMP. Their album topped the charts in the country, which led her also to become a top model for Thailand’s biggest fasion designers. She was at the time considered one of Thailand’s biggest supermodels. She hosted MTV POP with Rowena Kennett and MTV ROCK in Thailand as well. In Norway she also produced a daily music show SVISJ SHOW for the national broadcasting network NRK.
Michele later on introduced the judges for the evening:
The first Judge was Ferman Agkul – an MTV award winning frontman for rock band maNga, singer/songwriter, producer, director, actor and TV host; one of Turkey’s leading artists with a career that counts major hits both nationally and internationally. His big international break came in 2010, when his band manga came in second in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘We Could Be the Same’. The exposure made them known around Europe and in 2011, “Fly to Stay Alive”, written and composed by Ferman, was released. The single topped the charts in several European countries including #1 on the MTV Adria Rock.
The second Jugde is Dominik Gacka is a musician and organizer in Poland of music events likewise for budding artists/bands in Poland. Founder of Breslaux, a unique band that plays completely behind a sillhouete of visual imagery, they are one of the few pioneering new innovations in the live music scene in the country. He is also founder of the organization Megafonia, one that aims to help upcoming bands in the country.
The third Judge is noneother than Tore Lande, Founder and Managing Director of GBOB Worldwide. Lande started out as a guitarist and a recording artist of the band 70s chart-topping band in Norway, Bugges Firo. Later on, he organized the first Norwegian Championship of Rock, a competitions similar to GBOB, which spurred notable artists like AHA into the music industry. Moreover, he was a notable concert promoter for artists such as Rod Stewart, Sex Pistols, The Hollies, Oscar Peterson, The Shadows, Gary More, Roger Whittaker, Count Basie Orchestra, John McLaughlin, among the rest.
The fourth and fifth Judge were something all the more interesting: The Fourth Judge are the World Finalists themselves. At the end of the concert, they were given a chance to choose one band whom they admire the most. They could vote only for other bands and not themselves. The last Judge was the Audience. After all the bands have played, the audience in SO36 and all those watching around the world had a window of opportunity to vote for who they want to win.
Without further ado, the concert started:
The night kicked off with a bang as SCHREIBER from GERMANY took to the stage. Coming all the way from Hamburg, Schreiber are most known in the north for their energetic live performances, being a favorite in the regions live music circuit. The four-piece band set the mood right as they performed two songs that were written in German, in a genre they rightly called “Deutsch Rock”. This band had a loyal fanclub supporting throughout the journey, and it was obvious why they would. The band soared with catchy melodic pop rock songs reminiscent of the styles of Foo Fighters, and were simply enjoying the night and the performance.
The next band was PARTTIMECIRCUS from AUSTRIA, who performed two songs “Ressurection” and “Reclaimer”. Part Time Circus are an Indie Rock band playing music influenced by a combination of Indie, Jazz, Rock/Metal, and Classical. Their music and flow had a feel like “Pearl Jam”, added to that non-traditional drum grooves and guitar riffs, and viewers online were quick to notice the band’s energetic drummer Jakob who was simply enjoying himself throughout the performance. The band seemed to have been the most reserved performers of the night, but the kind of music they play speaks more of them as musicians with a sheer enthusiasm for music.
The third band of the night was DENMARK’s WALKING RUMOR, who recently had their single “Proud of Me” invading rock radio stations in Denmark and Europe, and gaining tens of thousands of listens in Spotify upon launch. Not to mention that this is their debut album as a band. Walking Rumor is are five members playing nu-metal, rap-rock influenced by the likes of Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. This was the first gig for the band outside of Denmark, and they certainly gave the audiences in Berlin an exciting and powerful performance, and it was a blast seeing them rock it out onstage.
SEQUENCE from SERBIA, the fourth band, simply blew us away with the most radical peformance of the night as they unleashed everything without holding back. The band kicked off with a team huddle onstage and simply exploded altogether on the first song. Online viewers were commenting about their laptop screens headbanging to the music and had wished they were there in SO36 instead of watching online. The band played two songs “Bloodshed” and “Pathway to Eternity”. If there was anything to say about this band, its pure determination, one that is evident in every show they play.
The fourth band of the night was VORBID from NORWAY, who played an instrumental intro plus the song “Garden of Departure”. Vorbid plays progressive thrash metal with a feel of Testament and Rush. And they were right to kick off with an Instrumental Intro, as it was their skill as musicians that simply blew the everyone away. Jaws probably dropped online as the guitar solo ripped thru the venue. One viewer commented online: “well, it’s Norway: the first thing babies there do when they are born is to play some wicked riffs, and only after they accomplish that they start to cry.” For sure, these guys are one of a kind.
THE DAYS WE DONT from UK took the stage after. Now it was a wild story, what this band had to go thru to get to Berlin, having band members scattered all over Europe, with only one night of practice, sleeping on a lay-by on the way to Berlin, and their gig in Berlin being the first gig they have together. Not to mention the guitar amp that broke down during their first song. But still, this band managed to wow and win the hearts of audiences around the world, gaining Second Place in worldwide votes. They were described by online viewers as “Simply Red meets Duran Duran meets some ska band meets Oasis meets Garbage”, all in all a great Brit-Rock Band, and well noted was frontman Matt who had an awesome voice and charisma onstage.
COLD BATH from SWITZERLAND gave the audiences the right chill they needed after too much “power” from the previous performances. Coming from Geneva, Cold Bath played Psych Rock influenced by Foals, Primus, and Pink Floyd most of all. They played two songs “Yab-Yum” and “Mama I Wanna Live in the Woods”, which were among the most catchy songs during the evening. The lead singer, Alex Merlin, was also a suave figure onstage as they performed, with online viewers comparing him to Jagger.
Then came SINOPTIK from UKRAINE. Sinoptik played what they called, “unpredictable fusion-absorption of psychedelic rock, old-school rock and digital stoner”. They certainly brought a whole new sound to the concert, matched with a powerful performance for a three piece band, with songs “Alex is her Name” and “White Cats”. A combination of ultimately talented musicians and great characters onstage, the whole audience might have stood still that night as the keyboards rung out a “cosmic” sound in the solo.
Coming onto to the half of the show, THE ATAVISTS from CZECH REPUBLIC were the next to take on the stage. A new emerging quartet from Hradec Králové, the band’s musical style can be described as an energetic mix of stoner rock, 60s surf music and blues. They are a favorite in the Czech live music circuit. They played the songs “Best For You” and “Let You Go”, both melody-focused, highlighting on the deep voice of lead singer Adam, who himself is an amazing guitarist who can shred like hell and play multiple styles of music.
Next in were VICE VERSA from GREECE, who were one of the most perfect performances of the night. Still to release their first full length album this December, the singles the band has released sparked more anticipation. They played the song “Come Undone”, a catchy classic rock ballad with great melody, deep lyrics, and alot of hooks, perfectly performed that night with clean sound; not to mention the high notes frontman and guitarist Dionysis had to hit, and did hit perfectly. Reminiscent of the styles of classic rock legends Guns N Roses with a modern sound, influenced both by Metal and Acoustic artists altogether.
THE RUN from AUSTRALIA came on next, who performed songs “Sorry” and “The Way I Feel”, two new tracks that highlighted the band’s delightful vocal harmonies matched with lively melodies from an acoustic guitar. The Run are a three-piece band playing indie pop/rock. Being the first to touch down in Berlin, they have been busking at the airport, train stations, and delighting Berliners in various music venues where they would simply get up onstage and play for an unsuspecting audience. Their performance has set the concert to a frenzy in SO36 and online. Favored by the audience in berlin and online, they won total majority of votes online offline that night.
And now, HTETHTHEMETH from ROMANIA, unarguably one of the most epic performances of the evening. Being a metal band, everyone was surprised when the band, playing “The Romatic Side of Paris”, started the show in an operatic theatrical style, highlighting the band’s versatility in musical styles. As the performance progressed from opera to hardcore, the band made it rain as they threw magnificent confetti on the audience – perhaps the first ever metal band in history to throw confetti at the audience and look more ultimately awesome in doing so. All in all, it was one of the most enjoyable performances of the evening, and it won the the “Most Voted Band by Fellow World Finalists”. Delightful persons onstage and offstage, Hteththemeth captured alot of the hearts that night, not to mention they literally held a red wooden heart during their performance and threw it to one lucky person in the audience. Calling themselves “Unhuman”, I think they just gained more followers in their legion of Unhuman Fans.
So much energy was followed by a pleasant two-piece band from POLAND, BOW. Bow are a husband and wife tandem playing a style of indiepop, jazz, blues, in piano and drums, yet using only two instruments they managed to sound almost like a full band. As true blue songwriters and skilled musicians, they frequently travel all over Europe to gain inspiration. Maria’s voice echoes with emotion in every note as they played “Wild For A While” and “Stop It”. Prior to GBOB, they have trekked Europe and have joined numberous TV Talent Competitions where they would present their original songs amidst a throng of people singing covers. And each time, they got the favor of the Judges.
And the perfect band to cap up the evening were THE MARISOLS from SINGAPORE. A five-piece pop band playing multiple genres including rock, alternative, latin, motown, but mostly reggae, THE MARISOLS have been together and playing in the live music scene of Singapore for more than a decade. Confident and certainly knowing how to whip up a celebration anywhere they go, the audiences were dancing with delight to their songs “Other Side” and “Seems So Beautiful”. Seeing a band smiling, laughing, and enjoying themselves onstage like family is a breath of fresh air, a reminder of what music really is about at the end of the day. Not to mention someone in the band gaining online fame for being the lone (hot, sexy) saxophone player of the GBOB World Final.
A great big applause was given for all the bands before voting started for the audience, the bands, and the judges. As this happened, the guest artist of the night was introduced: UNS, local heroes from Kreuzberg, the punk regions of Berlin; three people with drums, guitar and a thick synthesizer; burning beautiful harmonies and hysterical rhythms to a bizarre disco roast. Literally bringing blood and neon color onstage matched with a bizzare artsy disco genre, the UNS was the most performance of the evening, displaying to the whole world what contemporary and liberal art in Berlin is all about.
Then came to announce the winners:
MOST VOTED BAND BY AUDIENCED WORLDWIDE is THE RUN from AUSTRALIA. THE RUN topped both SO36 and Online votes during the evening.
MOST VOTED BAND BY FELLOW WORLD FINALISTS are noneother than HTETHTHEMETH from ROMANIA.
And now the top 5 runner ups by all Judges Worldwide, the top 5 including the winner mostly influenced by the discussions between the three judges during the night.
6th – THE ATAVISTS
5th – THE RUN
4th – VORBID
3rd – BOW
2nd – HTETHTHEMETH
And lastly, SINOPTIK, the winners of the evening.
We would like to thank the following who made this event possible:
SO36 – Such an amazing venue and an amazing team, thank you Nanette, Alex, and everyone in SO36
LOCALSTAGE – For an incredible livestreaming and video.
MMR – for helping manage the whole event from backstage to front door, and everywhere else.
2A HOSTEL – for the wonderful food and accomodation.
MEDIA PARTNERS – Kultmucke, Of Cores, and Helly Cherry.
End of press.