THERE have been mutterings that this was becoming less of a battle of the bands and more of a slow siege - but last night blew that rumour out of the water.

A good-sized crowd of teenage fans, ageing rockers, chino-wearing parents and even the odd bespectacled reporter got the mercury moving in the Fibbers' thermometer.

But where were the girls? Some of the boys on Stonebow's premier music stage last night could have done with a feminine touch - perhaps less angst and more tender loving care to those harmonies.

The eventual winners were York-based Coma, who have got the toughest name and the proudest-looking parents.

I don't know if hiring a Gareth Gates look-a-like on guitar helped snatch any votes from the opposition, but they seemed to have the upper hand straight away with the biggest cheer of the evening.

They describe their sound as combining the sounds of classic bands like Green Day, Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses. God bless the latter's legendary frontman, Axl Rose, because Coma's extended cover of his Sweet Child O' Mine was fantastic.

But surely we're not here to listen to cover versions - no matter how good they are - what about the real music?

It was pretty good popular rock with some infectious Wayne's World-style head banging thrown in for good measure from their curtain-haired lead singer.

The odds must be shortening on Coma, who were 20/1 to win the overall competition before last night's result, and I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

Nevertheless, first up were Hebden Bridge visitors Busride, who proved not to be too pedestrian after all and were in fact my pick of the night - shows what I know.

The four-piece's stage management was very professional, and they kept a relaxed but upbeat tempo for their full 30-minute set.

Songs like Gringo, Monday and Looking Back were pretty catchy, and jangly guitar chords made me think of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers of ten years ago.

They slowed things down with ballads like Looking Back, and their final number, Staring At Girls, was memorable.

Ham finally met their bacon last night and some other poor puns besides. What's with all these pre-recorded epic keyboard intros? I was waiting for the laser light show display and that French bloke to trundle on stage at one point.

The formula was clear from the start: loud, quiet, loud, quiet VERY LOUD and so on. Beam me up, Scotty.