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Blackburn band through to final of top competition
A FIVE-piece family band originally from Blackburn have reached the final of the UK’s biggest competition to find the country’s best unsigned outfit.
Beardsmith have won their way through local, area and regional heats to get the chance to play at the O2 in London next Saturday in the national final of Live and Unsigned.
The competition is the largest original music competition in the UK, with over 40,000 musicians entering this year.
Up for grabs are a series of summer festival dates, musical equipment, recording studio time and a £10,000 cash prize.
Beardsmith — the band take their name from the family surname — comprise eldest son Graham on keyboard, guitar and vocals, Gary on lead guitar, Ged on bass, Alice on keyboards, violin and vocals and youngest son Gil on drums.
“We consider ourselves a band first and a family second,” said Graham. “It still hasn’t sunk in that we’ve got through to the O2 for the final.”
The family share a farmhouse near Nantwich, having moved from Blackburn 11 years ago.
“We are all serious about music as a career. For myself, Gary, Ged and Alice, music is what we do,” said Gary.
“Gil will be 15 on the day of the final but he is home schooled so it allows him to concentrate on the band as well as his studies.
“I can honestly say we hardly ever fall out. You do get the odd petty argument but we’ve never had a serious fall-out and I think us all being in the band together has helped.”
The band’s first live performance remains their biggest date so far, although next weekend could well eclipse that.
“We played King George’s Hall in 1998 in front of over 2,000 Scouts and Beavers,” said Graham.
“It was our first-ever gig and we’d been put forward by our dad Neil who was the Immanuel Scout troop leader to play at the annual Blackburn and Darwen Scouts’ event. I think the average age of the band was about 12.”
Beardsmith are no strangers to success. In 2009 they were voted Britain’s most talented family by viewers of GMTV and went on the record a Christmas album as part of a prize.
“I suppose us being a family may both be a help and a hindrance,” said Graham. “Now we are all older we aren’t a novelty act. We are a serious rock band who are determined to make a career in the music business.
"That’s why getting to the Live and Unsigned final is so fantastic. We have been judged on our own merits.”
For the final, Beardsmith will compete in the indie and alternative section. They will have three-and-a-half minutes to play one song which combines and original track and a cover version.
“It’s not a huge amount of time,” said Graham.
“We will be playing our own song Blame and Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. Then it’s up to the judges.”
The panel of judges will be made up of industry experts and leading musicians and band members.
Previous years have seen the likes of Slade’s Noddy Holder, Radio 1 DJ Annie Nightingale and Mobo Award winner Shola Ama.
A pre-release of the band’s debut album If All The World Is A Stage is available from their website www.beardsmith.com
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