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Battle of the Bands winners: the Five Minute Band

Sibling rivalry may be rife in some households, but for Fabian and Amelie Villars, joining forces has proven to be a far better option.

Students Fabian and Amelie Villars

The brother-sister duo make up the Five Minute Band, 2020 winners of ACG Sunderland’s recent Battle of the Bands competition. The only siblings to perform together in the event, the pair took out top spot with their polished performance of an original song, ‘Decisions’.

“It’s nice to perform your own original music and get recognised for it,” says singer songwriter Amelie (14), who also plays guitar, piano, ukulele, bass and drums.

“I’ve always been in school choirs and had piano lessons but my music teacher Mr O’Connor has really helped me start performing and writing my own music.”

Although she has previously placed in the school’s Battle of the Band competitions, and has also participated in two Smokefree Rockquests, this is the first time Amelie has performed alongside her brother, and the first time she’s won the competition.

“Fabian and I play together a lot as it’s easy to practice and we can play whenever we feel like it. Because of this year’s lockdowns, it made sense to perform together for Battle of the Bands. The added bonus is that we can be very critical of each other which helps us improve.”

Not surprisingly Covid-19 brought about some significant changes to the event’s delivery. Usually a standalone competition, this year it was combined with the ACG Sunderland Talent Show and held virtually. Although the siblings admit videoing their performance wasn’t quite the same as performing live, according to Fabian there were plenty of upsides.

“It was actually easier because you have multiple attempts to get the perfect video,” says the talented 12-year-old, who draws his inspiration from Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash.

Not that he was expecting to win.

“I’ve entered the ACG concert and the Smokefree Rockquest before but never won. I felt very happy and overwhelmed with this year’s result.”

But even more rewarding than the win itself was the fun the siblings had honing their performance and watching the plethora of other talented acts when the event screened online.

Adds Fabian, “I loved the Quarantine Edition. There were so many good acts and the hosts were hilarious!”