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Live: Road to V: Bo Pepper, The Jubilees and Amy Bullman

By on Thursday, 17th May 2007 at 4:06 pm

Amy BullmanTuesday night saw the first of three London shows at the Islington Academy for the ‘Road To V’ competition. The 14 shortlisted bands are all unsigned and are fighting it out to be one of two bands to open V Festival in August.

First out was the judges reserve choice, Amy Bullman, who came out and did about 6 songs, all of which were very well executed. She coped very well when the backing track failed (she only had a guitartist on stage with her), and whilst nervous had a very strong voice, combining the cockney of Lily Allen and the abilities of KT Tunstall.

However, she really was nothing different. She’s perfectly competent, but doesn’t have a unique selling point that sets her apart from everyone else. The popular singer / songwriter genre is already full, and there really is no reason that Amy should be let in.

The JubileesNext up were The Jubilees, who had bought the largest crowd of the night down with them from Lincolnshire, and were very entertaining. Clearly nervous, they managed to get a good sweat going and were the most likely to do something in the future I think.

Their frontman was quite remiscent of Paul Weller, with their sound being very Jam-esque, lively, and great fun. Much better than I originally thought they would be, and whilst they’re not going to set the world on fire with innovation, they are a quality band that could go far with a bit of marketing and their fans.

Bo PepperFinally, Bo Pepper arrived. I thought they’d be the highlight of the night, going by their MySpace. I had visions of a Girls Aloud style band / Mika in band format, and whilst they undoubtably have the people to be successful (each person on stage had their own “persona” and air around them), their music live leaves a lot to be desired.

Lead female “Singer” has a great voice, and is very easy on the eye, however seemed to spend more time running her fingers through her hair than actually singing. Then she got picky about the sound levels, which we didn’t notice any difference in…. oh well. You win some, you lose some!

So a great evening, and free, which is always good. Tonight they have three bands who I think are slightly better going by their MySpaces: The Outside Royalty (who are my favourites, and I’ve covered before), Maxfield (think Groove Armarda style) and Dylan James (so-so). Give it a go – take a look at the official Road To V website here.


Road To V

By on Monday, 16th April 2007 at 8:52 pm

EDIT: Please Note that “Original Cast” have been removed from the top 14 as they were in fact signed. They were replaced by The Guests.

So they’ve announced the new Road to V shortlist today, and to be honest I’m a bit disappointed. The judges seem to have gone for the bands with the most “buzz”, the most positive press, or the most sell-able sound, rather than simply the best bands. Whilst I’m glad that Bo Pepper are included, I’m disappointed at the lack of singer-songwriters, or simply good songs consistently available.

The top 14 are, along with their MySpace page links are:

  1. Bo Pepper
  2. The Brightlights
  3. Dylan James
  4. India Mill
  5. Johnny Foreigner
  6. The Jubilees
  7. Kagura
  8. Maxfield
  9. New Cassettes
  10. Original Cast
  11. Our Fold
  12. Outside Royalty
  13. Rosalita
  14. Seven Heroes

Of these, I most like Bo Pepper, The Brightlights, Kagura, Maxfield, New Cassettes, and Outside Royalty, though expect me to change my mind repeatedly as the competition progresses. Some of them however I think are just outright shite (see Seven Heroes, and India Mill).

Expect much heated talk from me regarding these bands in the coming weeks.


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TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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