It might be a competition but the real fight for the finalists of Last Band Standing taking place in Preston is to reclaim a space for live and original music in a fierce industry.
Meet the four bands proving, however, that the city has the talent and the diversity to carve out a music scene deserving of the spotlight. The finals kick off at 8pm at The Ferret, 55 Fylde Road, Preston, on Saturday, April 15th.
Thundering to the top is “party-hard rock” band Soldato - Korv Sutch (bass), Phil J. Bailey (drums), John Taylor (vocals) and Craig Benyon (guitar) - aptly named after the Italian for soldier and inspired by the singer’s love of Mafia films.
Having only been together just over a year, the band has already fused together a potent dose of heavy rock and roll. But Soldato is a hybrid of influences: Craig, for example, once a church bell-ringer, has roots in jazz, brass and classical bands while Korv’s goth-rock background has helped their music morph towards “party-hard rock” with a pummelling of “upbeat drums”.
As wide-reaching are their songs’ subject matters, taking inspiration from all areas of daily life.
“We make whatever we feel like doing,” said Craig. “We want people to have fun so you can expect high energy and an upbeat, hard-rock show.”
Empire Police has wired alternative vibes into an indie-rock sound influenced by The Strokes, The Cribs, The Courteeners and The Libertines.
“Our sound comes under indie-rock but we have many different influences,” said bass-player George, “such as jazz or differing drum beats.”
The guys - George Jacques, Fynley Dobson (drummer), Jordao Bassa (singer) and Tom Hale (lead guitarist) - will smash the indie scene with a “cracking set of music: catchy riffs and sing-along lyrics.”
“Most of the tunes are about women,” George added. “The only thing you can write about is love. But they’re not typical love ballads."
To find out more and to give their newly released single, Dream Boat Picture, a listen, check the band out on Twitter and Instagram.
Firing audiences across a gritty musical spectrum, melding grunge, indie, rock and funk, is trio, Deepshade.
“We don’t stick to one style,” said Dave. “We’re alternative-orientated. We’re not set in one way: we have music from every background - we have no borders and we can’t be pigeon-holed.”
While “being a rebel and loving the chaos of it all,” drew them to grunge, their sound is cut with the “psychedelic”, their new drummer charging their tracks with “more of a percussionist groove.”
The band, Rybka (vocals/guitar), Doherty (bass) and Barlow (drums), who list their influences as Nirvana, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Richard Thompson and Pearl Jam, fuse their music with a dark and cathartic edge.
The songs are “everyday poems put together,” Dave added. “We write about all kinds of things: modern-day culture; our thoughts on the current political state; escapism. They’re part surrealism and realism.”
Check them out on Sound Cloud and Facebook.com/deepshademusic
The Jonny Oates Band - Jordan Bates (drums), Connor Kaminski (guitar), Ben Lawton (bass), Zoe Stirzaker (saxophone) and Jonny Oates (vocals) - is a rich fusion of influences, a four to five-month metamorphosis of rock, country, jazz, blues and indie.
“Our sound is a modern twist on Springsteen and John Mayer or Dave Matthews’ Band,” said Jonny.
“We all bring something different. It’s quite intricate, but not on a surface level. That uncertainty is really cool. We do it for ourselves - we don’t try to mould ourselves just because we think people would like that.
"I tend to write about darker subjects. I try to avoid break-ups and tend to focus on particular points and places in relationships: how little things have a big impact over a long time. I like to think people can put their own spin on the songs.
"I’ve always been quite a mature individual: I’ve always had a level-head and taken a step back to look at things. I want other people to see themselves in the songs.”