Group D. It’s possible that D was short for ‘Death’ given a lot of the bigger names and pre-tournament favourites were featured, along with some cult acts who could prove to be potential dark horses. In such circumstances, some of the minnows, primarily singers/bands whose appearances have more or less been restricted to the ICA, were on a hiding to nothing.
35 sets of votes had been cast by Monday evening, and it was already clear that Muse, Pink Cross and The Wave Pictures had next to no chance of getting through.
At the other end of the table, Echo and The Bunnymen seemed to be getting ticked by almost everyone, picking up a remarkable 31 votes from the first 35 selections, thus ensuring, very early on, a smooth passage to the knock-out stages. Fellow Liverpudlians, The Beatles also looked to have done enough by Monday night with 24 votes, with each of Cinerama, Edwyn Collins and The Ramones also looking comfortable while John McGeoch, after a sluggish start, were beginning to feature prominently.
There was, however, a fair old battle going on for the remaining two spots. By Monday evening (when I did a quick check on things) just five points separated 7th place down to 14th with Ballboy, Blancmange, The Blue Nile, Gregory Isaacs, Jens Lekman, Pop Will Eat Itself, Pylon and Sons & Daughters all being in with a shout of getting through.
Only a further eleven sets of votes were cast over the remainder of the week, resulting in the final top half of the table looking like this:-
- Echo & The Bunnymen 40
- The Beatles 30* (penalty-shoot out winners for 2nd place)
- Edwyn Collins 30
- The Ramones 28
- John McGeoch 26
- Cinerama 24
- Ballboy 22
- Pop Will Eat Itself 20
It was Ballboy in particular who picked up a lot of support in the final few days to clinch a spot in the knock-out phases, while PWEI also fared well late on to clinch the final spot. The Blue Nile got 17 votes, just ahead of each of Gregory Issacs, Pylon and Sons & Daughters who all got 16 votes while. Blancmange and Jens Lekman didn’t pick up much more support after Monday, finishing with 14 and 12 respectively; indeed there was a late burst from Muse to eventually gain 11 votes while neither Pink Cross or The Wave Pictures reached double figures.
Worth mentioning that 87% of the participants cast a vote for Echo & The Bunnymen, which is thus far the best performance in the group stages.
That’s 32 of the 64 who will participate in the knock-out stages sorted out. And the way I’ve worked it out, all the teams in the top half of the draw (Groups A-D) will be up against one another, so you can have a look back at what’s happened already to see that some tasty match-ups are guaranteed come September when that phase of the ICA World Cup gets underway.
As ever, a song from an ICA we’ve had to say farewell to.
mp3: Blancmange – Waves (12″ mix)