Thursday, 22 March 2012

Yorkshire Unplugged: the audience decides who wears the crown in this live acoustic competition for local musicians

The Yorkshire Unplugged competition is a search for the region’s finest live, unsigned, & unplugged talent.

The free to enter competition is taking place every Thursday at the Forum Café Bar over the next five weeks. The second round will take place today 22nd March, featuring the Twin Bears, Old Man Pie, Joe Banfi, Don Barrell Gents, Climbing Trees and Andrew TregoningLocal up and coming comedian, Carl Maloney, will be hosting the competition.

Up to six different acts will compete in each of the five rounds, with the audience voting for the winning act from each round. The winners will enter the grand final, where the audience will crown Yorkshire’s Finest Live Unsigned & Unplugged Performers.

Yorkshire Unplugged is the regions newest search for raw acoustic talent organised by a new local company BIG LIVE EVENT Limited. The company was recently set up by a group of entrepreneurial event management students with the help of Sheffield Hallam University’s Enterprise Centre.

Competition co-organiser and Managing Director at BIG LIVE EVENT Limited, Sam Wherrett said, "It has become obvious to us that the region is rich in fine un-identified musicians who simply love playing to people. By running the Yorkshire Unplugged competition these musicians not only get the opportunity to play in front of audiences at a local musically prestigious venue, but get produced, photographed and paraded in front of local music industry professionals.”

BIG LIVE EVENT Limited have teamed up with what they consider ‘the very best organisations in the local music industry’ to offer the winners a staggering prize. This includes the Yorkshire Unplugged Trophy, £1000 of professional recording and production provided by Dan Worrall Recordings, main stage performance at Limetree Music & Arts Festival and a promotional photographic shoot courtesy of Charlie Barker Photography.

The Velcro Teddybears – Exclusive Interview.

The Velcro Teddybears are the winners from the first round of Yorkshire Unplugged. Sam Chadwick, Mike Griffin, Josh Griffin and Mike Holland are based in Sheffield, so we caught up with them for an exclusive interview.

The Velcro Teddybears at Yorkshire Unplugged by Charlie Barker Photography 

Which records do you come to for inspiration and which never leave your playlist?
Old School rock and roll is what all of the band grew up listening to, especially from the 60's and 70's, although we do have a tendency to give a fairly large nod to the Blues. Creedence Clearwater Revival never fail to make an appearance in our set, and their intelligent combination of riff and lyric is a constant inspiration.

What do you consider to be your defining moment to date and what would you like to be remembered for?
The full line up coming together in our first gigs was definitely one of those moments when we all realised what we had to offer, but also the rewards and recognition that have come through our constant efforts. Both in the evolution of our 'ballsy' rock and roll and the development of our live show have definitely come to define us.

Talk us through how you started out as an act.
The 'Velyteds' originally started as an acoustic duo, playing various open mics after a period of constant writing spawning from an ignorance of doing anything else. The addition of bass and the cajon only solidified what we knew we had and this in turn further developed the 'bluesy, rock and roll' sound we found for ourselves.

Why did you enter the Yorkshire Unplugged Competition?
After being approached by 'Big Live Event', it was obvious that this was something we could not turn down. We have always been committed to the raw acoustic sound and revel in being part of such an event. We were also aware of the quality of some of the other acts that had been offered the chance to play, and felt we had to put ourselves alongside.

How are you feeling about qualifying for the live heat stages of the Yorkshire Unplugged Competition?
The news that we had got through was obviously a massive compliment, and we appreciate everything that people did to aid in this. It is just a case of justifying our place now and that sort of pressure only excites us. Also to play at a venue that we have not frequented yet, alongside some other quality artists, is sure to provide a mixture of exceptional musical revelry!

What can people expect from your live heat performance in the competition?
We pride ourselves in playing proper acoustic rock n'roll and our show will differ a fair amount from some of the other more laid-back styles. With guitar inspired from timeless riffs, and a voice of present times, we give rhythm and blues back to the roots that have been lost by so many other bands. We give our songs with gusto and we'll have a drink in hand (mines a dark rum and coke). Find reviews on the MyBand section of our facebook page.

What form does the creative process take for you? Do you sit down with an instrument or do you write the lyrics first, then a melody? Or is there no set formula?
The creative process is definitely one that changes with every song. Every member of the band has the right to write, both lyrically and musically, and there is never a feeling that a single member of the band has ownership over any song. Some songs will take minutes to come together, where as others will develop over months at a time.

What is consistent however is the trend for content to derive from real life occurrences and observations. Having all grown up rurally, a bucolic theme has run through, although more encompassing themes such as inebriation and refusing to get out of bed have also made an appearance. We crave originality and this can sometimes be a limiting factor as more songs get rejected than come to stage. But this is something we all feel strongly about and has only served us well so far.

Are there any other exciting things you would like to tell us about that you have in the pipeline?
In the t'old pipeline the bears have what is looking to be an exciting summer ahead of them, kicking off with a full set on 4th April at the Metrodome, Barnsley. Various gigs are to be confirmed afterwards, working towards supporting the splendid 'Bad Manners' on 4th July at Mosbrough music festival. A variety of other summer festivals are to be confirmed around the country.

Peace and Pears...The Velcro Teddybears x

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