There was a time in the not too distant past that being 'Best in Bournemouth' was like being the tallest of Snow White's seven mates - not much of an accolade.
But now with a burgeoning live music scene and more venues to play than ever before, being crowned the best in the area is not something to be sniffed at.
And so it was that we trooped up to The Talbot up in Winton to witness the final of this excellent competition. Sadly due to other commitments such as being drunk at festivals etc. I haven't had the chance to see the earlier heats so getting along there was a case of making up for lost time.
Describing the grimmers isn't easy. In fact it's a bit like nailing jelly to the wall.
Imagine a band that moves seamlessly between the folk blues rock of Creedence, proto power ballads of Lynrd Skynyrd and the beards of ZZ-Top and you may get somewhere near, but be prepared for broken jelly and a wall full of bent nails.
I really enjoyed their stuff and it was clear that they would be hard to beat especially given the large, singing and dancing following they brought with them.
Giving a damn good go though was Soulhole who aren't what you think they are.
You're probably thinking Soul + Afro = James Brown covers band and you'd be further away from your target than a drunken blind archer with an inner ear infection.
In fact what they produce is a busy fast paced indie pop sound with a smile on it's face bigger than Ronald MacDonald who's been given some unexpectedly good news. I'm loving the sense of humour and the singability of their stuff.
Only one winner
Choosing a winner can't have been easy - in any of the rounds. In the end the judges went for beard power with Brothers Grimmer taking top spot from Soulhole but it could easily have gone the other way, and who could have argued.
The truth is there were a number of winners from the night;
Well done to The Talbot pub who hosted the entire competition. Hopefully the increase in trade will mean that there will be ever more live music for years to come.
All of the bands that played will no doubt have got something from the comp, if nothing else then a bit more experience gets added on to the pile.
Lastly the biggest winner has to be us, the live music fans who have had the chance to see a series of great bands fight for the title Best in Bournemouth.
Kicking off with 'Start' was a bold move for two reasons - one you need to get that one bang on because if you get it wrong it sounds awful and secondly doing a cover at a new band competition probably isn't going to win you many marks. TBG though nailed this one good and proper and it was a good way to inject some energy into the long gap between bands.
Having a band dancer can sometimes make you look a bit odd but in retrospect it never did Bez or Chas Smash any harm. The grimmers are a bit out there and dancer Michael adds to the flavour - he also did a couple of songs on vox too. I have no idea how he gets the energy to be fair!
There was much singing and dancing during their set (you can see a video right) and they fairly got the place jumping.Frontman Jordan worked the partisan crowd well and their good humour wasn't entirely down to them being tired and emotional after a long day in the pub.
An exceptionally interesting cover of The Doors 'Break on Through (to the other side)' was followed by a rousing chorus of happy birthday (obligatory in any pub and at any gig) and it's fair to say that the lateness of the hour didn't dampen the crowd's enthusiasm. What was great to see was the amount of people who were singing along with the bands original numbers.