Next Big Thing
Congratulations to Colsole Wars, the winners of this years Next Big Thing competition!
More than 130 of the region's upcoming bands that entered a musical talent search have been whittled down to one after Console Wars were crowned this year's Next Big Thing.
The indie pop band won the career-boosting competition after impressing a panel of top industry judges at the contest's final round. They beat off competition from five other finalists in what is being hailed as the tightest competition ever in its six-year history.
The quintet, formed three months ago and playing only their seventh gig, were presented with a cheque for £1,000 on stage at the UEA LCR, as well as winning a record label, recording time at Leeders Farm studio, a professional photo shoot and £500 worth of music equipment.
Lead singer Steve Wagstaff, 22, of Cambridge Street, Norwich, said: “It was completely unexpected. Everyone in the final was completely different, and there's not really a best one. We're really glad we won; we're going to spend the money on equipment and recording. We're very serious about our music.”
Console Wars beat acoustic folk duo Alloy Ark to the prize by just a single judge's point. Meanwhile, Hellesdon solo artist Epichunt, who makes electronic music using nothing but Nintendo Game Boys, was in third place.
Also performing at Sunday night's final were indie quartet Hair Traffic Control, singer-songwriter Sula Mae and rock quintet Kairos - all from Norwich.
The six bands went through to the final after being chosen from 12 artists that played at two semi-finals at the B2 Brickmakers venue last month. This last dozen were selected from 131 hopefuls, who submitted their music to organisers Future Radio.
Judge Rick Lennox, a representative for labels One Little Indian and Polydor and who signed Skunk Anansie, said: “There's been a really interesting range of bands, across the board. To whittle it down to just 12 was really difficult and anyone at the final really deserves to be here. I want to go back and listen to some of the bands that didn't go through.”
For the first time, the final was broadcast live on organiser Future Radio's website, with breakfast show presenter Terry Lee compere for the evening. Station manager Tom Buckham said: “It's been an excellent competition. It's been a lot bigger than last year with a lot bigger profile and a lot more entries. It was very close - one point separated the winner and runner-up and it was very tough. I think Console Wars got a bigger cheer when they went on so that was clearly something the judges noticed.”
Previous winners include Ed Sheeran, who has secured a release with Island Record, and The Kabeedies, whose debut album Rumpus was released last month.
This year, the EDP-backed competition boasts a new principle sponsor, the Think Norfolk Partnership, which aims to get road safety messages across to young adults. James Dunne, spokesman for the campaign, said: “This is a positive way to get the road safety message home to young adults and we have received some really positive feedback.”
The judging panel also featured ex-Prodigy and Pitchshifter guitarist Jim Davis, Leeders Farm producer Nick Brine, freelance music PR specialist Sarah Neeve and head of local NROne Records Kingsley Harris.
If you would like to know more about the Next Big Thing please click here to go to our News section, or see the top right of this page to see our downloads.
- If you would like to find out more about other Think! Norfolk campaigns aimed at Young Drivers in the County please click here.