Friday, 25 January 2013

The Y Factor Semi Final 2013

With hundreds of high-spirited teenagers scurrying about the building, on 19th January 2013 The Roadmender paid witness to one of the biggest, most exciting local music events of the year. No, not One Direction coming to town (thank goodness), this mammoth of a showcase was in fact the most recent in a long line of festivals from the ever-brilliant charity event-cum-competition The Y Factor - and can without a doubt go down as one of their best gigs they've ever put on.

One letter better than The X Factor (and minus Simon Cowell's half-melted eyeballs), Rotary Becket established The Y Factor almost ten years ago as an opportunity to showcase some of the most exciting and varied young talents that this county has got to offer. For most of the acts it's the largest crowd they've ever played to, for a few it's the first gig they've ever played at all, however for every single contestant The Y Factor is a chance to to develop their skills not only musically but in terms of performance, working with professionals and even, for a lucky few, organising their very own gigs.

But, hey, never mind all that gubbins. Let's stop beating around the bush and cut to the chase - The Semi Final 2013.

Hosting a wider range of bands and artists than ever before, a sea of excellent performances swamped this four hour festival, expanding into numerous musical plains and genres - from ragged-sounding, anthem-packed rock bands such as The Hounds or Tape right through to Angus McAlpine's gorgeous acoustic soundscapes (with an empowering bluesy edge added by James "JR" Pitman, and Owen Penrice infusing hip-hop in a really diverse and interesting way). And yet, no matter label you chose to lumber them with, most (if not all) of the contestants were linked by the incredibly high calibre that they played to.

The thing that impressed me most, though, was the increase in musicality and use of instruments. Unlike previous years when several of the performers have had to rely on karaoke-style backing tracks, apart from grime poet Leo there was not a single guitarless moment in the whole competition. As always with The Y Factor age is not necessarily proportionate to quality (the likes of Ash Lane, Seven For A Secret and previous semi-finalist Ned The Kids Dylan all come to mind). I won't lie, one band - Blood-Visions - were ejected mid-set, however the night continued unhindered, and (apart from that solitary incident) seamlessly.

Which is why I have so much gratitude to The Rotary Club of Northampton Beckett for continually putting on this excellent evening of music. Kirsty Crawford - who undertakes the arduous task of organising the mechanics of such an event - has my full appreciation, as do all of the barworkers, security workers and any other Roadmender staff who contributed to the night. Obviously a huge thanks goes out to all twenty performers (and, by the nature of the competition, to their parents for braving the icy road conditions to taxi them there!), but also to the brilliant sound engineers who were hard at work at just being awesome. And of course, most importantly of all, we must remember the whole evening is put on completely volutarily in order to raise funds for invaluable local youth charity The Lowdown - and it's levels of dedication like that that are just unbeatable.

The Y Factor Final 2013 - Saturday 16th March

Broken Revolution - Killer rock 'n' roll from Towcester's ever-prospeous Rockschool

Colm Lyons - Acoustic covers of the modern pop hits you never even knew you loved

Kelly Barnes - The gorgeous, talented popstar-in-the-making playing her brilliance on a bright turquoise guitar

Morton Piercewright - Capacious folky musings that will make you glad Blastphemy had to cancel

Scott Walters - Self-penned, 60s-RnB-inspired love songs from one voice and a guitar

Tear Of Eden - Eardrum imploding heavy metal that'll have Eden weeping like a baby!

The Incidents - Since when have I been biased? Oh yeah, since always. Seeming as I invited them, did you know that "The Incidents" is actually Latin for: "Put your cross in this box next to our name because we'll absolutely blow your mind." It's more of a rough translation than a literal one though.

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