TWM kicked off this year’s Law Rocks season in style last night with a barn-storming performance that electrified the massed ranks at a packed-out 100 Club.
In the first of five bands all fronted by female lead singers, TWM’s Charlotte Donald astonishing, multi-octave voice took on Aretha Franklin’s Think and won.
Donald, a solicitor in TWM’s dispute resolution team, ably led her star-studded band Totally Without Merit that got the night of winners underway perfectly. TWM’s stunning show was followed by top-notch performances by bands from Addleshaw Goddard (AG/DC), Irwin Mitchell (I M Beats), Howard Kennedy (Take it to the Bridge) and Simons Muirhead & Burton (Conflict of Egos).
Before the competition proper got under way The Ruggs broke new ground at Law Rocks by kicking off the night with a song by Status Quo.
“This is for Rick,” said lead singer Tim Skipper from Totum Partners, honouring the late, great Mr Parfitt who died in December.
While not competing in the main battle of the bands, The Ruggs scored points thanks to the eclectic mix of its personnel. It featured a QC on keyboards, the ex COO of The Law Society on bass, a barrister on lead guitar and two legal recruiters doing vocals.
Last night was LawRocks’ annual Six of the Best event, when previous winners of the legal market battle of the bands compete for the title of the winner of winners.
Once battle began there was no more than a Rizla between all of the bands in terms of quality, which meant the three-man judging panel had an almost impossible task nailing down the winners.
“All five competing bands were separated by only 3.5 points [the max points available being 30], it was that close,” said LawRocks founder Nick Child, managing director at Navigant, who pointed out that there would have been six bands but Ashurst had to pull out when one of the band’s members broke his shoulder skiing. Rumours that a bizarre gardening accident had also been involved could not be confirmed.
Ultimately the judges decided on a top three. In third place was perennial Law Rocks winners, the awesome two-piece I M Beats, followed by the slick Take it to the Bridge in second.
While neither firm won on the night, rumours are already circulating that both bands are pinning their hopes on a far flung rematch by competing in LawRocks Sydney and Hong Kong in October this year.
But there could be only one winner, and so the opening act of the night, TWM’s Totally Without Merit, picked up the title of LawRocks Six of the Best champion, also winning the chance to take the stage one more time to play out the night.
“Every time we do a gig, and I mean every time, the quality just gets better,” said Child. “The sound engineer, who is Marillion’s and Deep Purple’s sound engineer, last night told me that if the SMAB [Simons Muirhead & Burton] band appeared as a support act on tour and someone told him they were professional, he would believe them. That’s where we’ve got to. Real lawyers, being real musicians, putting on a real show, all for good causes.”
Last night also saw the first winners of the inaugural David Batcup award, named after the Charter Chambers barrister who was tragically killed when leaving LawRocks unplugged last year.
In a moving speech that hushed the packed-out 100 Club to silence, host Damian Hickman said Batcup was “the nicest man you could ever wish to meet”, and would have appreciated the rationale for the award, which is presented to the band that played the best and most fun song on the night.
Appropriately the first-ever winner of the award was Addleshaws for You Got the Love. As Child pointed out, Addleshaw guitarist Jonathan Tattersall played the first ever note at the first ever Law Rocks! Back in 2009.
“It was a D,” said Child.
Law Rocks has raised more than $2.5m since launching in 2009. In January this year it officially become a registered charity with the pro bono help of Howard Kennedy, which advised it on its application to the Charities Commission for charity status.
Law Rocks was founded in 2009 by Child and Hickman, CEO at the International Dispute Resolution Centre.