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The Corporation

Posted: 22/04/09

Music students in ‘battle of the bands’

West Nottinghamshire College National Diploma music students Robin Simpson and Ricky Barson with band mates, former students Luke Frakes and Dominic Slone, have set their sights on being crowned the UK’s best live and unsigned act.

The foursome, who all live in Chesterfield and perform under the name ‘The Educatables’, have progressed through to the area finals of ‘Live and Unsigned’ – a national music competition for unsigned bands, vocal groups and solo artists.

Billed as the UK’s biggest music talent search, it offers a recording contract and single release. The 2007 competition was broadcasted on ITV and the 2008 competition was filmed and broadcast as a series on Sky television.

So far the lads, who play their own material as well as covering classic pop and rock anthems, have competed against 10,000 fellow entrants and after getting through the first round, played to an audience of 400 at Sheffield City Hall last month in the second round. 

Luke, who now works at West Nottinghamshire College in the Students' Union, said: “We performed two songs in four minutes and seemed to please the judges with our own material and a cover of a Beatles song.  They said we were the best sounding band for radio.”

Both Luke (19) and Dom (23), who were music students at the College themselves last year, are now looking forward to joining band mates Robin (20) and Ricky (19) in the next round in Salford, Manchester, next month when judges as the well as the audience will vote for their winning acts.

Luke added: “We’re really excited about the prospect of winning the prize of £20,000 investment and a recording contract.  The event in May will be a really important day for us and we’re hoping that we go all the way to the televised National Grand Final.” 

In preparation the band has lined up a series of gigs to get additional practice.

Ricky said: “We gig up and down the country so we’re used to playing to live audiences. We realise we’re up against some great competition but we are determined to pull out all the stops.”

Tutor Gary Martins added: “I’m so proud to have taught all of the lads on their music national diploma.  They have shown great talent and determination to get this far and the College is supporting them through to the next round in Salford.   Their confidence at performing live is awe-inspiring and I’m sure they’ll go far.”