YOUNG musicians took to the stage for Bolton School’s annual Battle of the Bands — watched by Stone Roses guitarist Aziz Ibrahim.

The professional musician, most famous for playing with The Stone Roses and Simply Red was invited to judge this year’s “closely fought” contest.

Thirteen bands initially entered the competition, but on the day five were chosen to play: Ultra Violet in year 10, title-holders Off Piste, year 12, Waiting for the Weekend, year 12, previous winners Absolution, year 13, and Parallel Oreos from year 9.

The contest was dominated by rock and grunge music, covering Guns ‘n’ Roses and My Chemical Romance hits.

Each band had to try to wow Aziz with just two songs.

He was the latest in a string of judges with strong connections to the world of music to attend the contest.

Recent judges of the competition have included Tim Thomas of Blueprint recording studio in Manchester, and two old boys, broadcaster Mark Radcliffe and Sir Tony Wadsworth, former chairman and CEO of EMI.

Aziz said: “All the bands performing today were winners. I have been really impressed by the quality. I am disappointed that nobody has tried bribery or corruption as that can go a long way in rock and roll!

“You are very lucky to have such facilities and equipment to make use of. In my day, at the school I went to, it was recorder lessons and that was about it.

“Don’t take it for granted. For me, music has opened so many doors and made me so many friends, right around the world. It always allows you to escape what might be going on in the rest of your life.

“I know many of you will have mums and dads who are pressing you to get good jobs but I urge you to keep going with your music too.

“For me, it has never been about the music but much more about art, and I can see that you guys are artists. I can tell just by how you play and what you wear what your influences are.”

Aziz chose the Parallel Oreos, who have performed at Ryan Giggs’ restaurant and The Market Place.

Adam Critchlow, aged 14, drummer with the winning band, said: “It was fantastic sharing the stage with so many great bands, and then to win was absolutely awesome.

“It must have been hard for Aziz Ibrahim to choose but we felt proud that someone with his fame and experience chose us.”