UKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The Cavern

UKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The Cavern

UKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The Cavern

UKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The Cavern

 

 

Long before the 10th September 2018 dawned the excitement of holding the 4th UKBlues Challenge in The Cavern Club, Liverpool was causing a wave of anticipation throughout social media. On the 7th September slowly increasing in numbers a frame appeared on Facebook. People showing their support by having their profile picture framed with I’M SUPPORTING  THE 4TH #UKBLUESCHALLENGE.

The atmosphere was redolent with the past glories that have been played out at the original Cavern. Tourists were buzzing, selfies were being taken as the board of UKBlues Federation set the space up. The bands arrived full of energy and expectation. The sound guys did everything to ensure the sound checks went smoothly. The venue was in the WiFi free zone of the basement dark and already hot. The mood was electric, as the queues formed outside of blues fans who were delighted to be spending a Sunday afternoon with five bands that representing the variety of angles across the U.K today. Bringing the Blues back to the Cavern 60 years on…

The five bands were given thirty minutes to play the music they love and to get the chance to represent the UK in Memphis at International Blues Challenge and in Hell, Norway at the European Blues Challenge; stepping into the shoes vacated by Kaz Hawkins Band who won and went on to fly the flag of modern Blues being played and enjoyed by diverse audiences. The judges were ready and waiting. The six wise listeners who all love the blues as artists, promoters and DJ’s. The Six were, Victor Brox, Connie Lush, Rosy Greer, Kaz Hawkins, Chris Powers and Nick Westgarth.

 

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The five bands now knew the running order

 

The venue was, hot dark and steamy. The audience on the edge of their seats with anticipation as Ashwyn Smyth (Chair UKBlues Federation) opened proceedings. With Elles’ first note the 2018 challenge was underway.

UKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The CavernElles Bailey debut album is aptly named Wildfire. Elles and her band were like a wildfire burning up the stage. They filled their thirty-minute set with a windswept melee of originals. With country Blues rocked up everyone knew that this was going to be a great live session of blues interpreted by a rising star.  The set was polished as the musicians surrounded her with a hug of sound for Elles to bounce from and deliver the lyrics.  First, up is always difficult. Elles used every note to her advantage setting the bar very high.  The audience whooped and cheered they loved the set. The bands following knew that they had to do not their best but their very best were they ready for the challenge?

Next up with a quick changeover, were The Rainbreakers.  This is rocky blues full of panache and UKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The Cavernswagger. Ben on vocals and lead guitar was on fire. His rocky blues electrified the audience. Playing with passion, determination and driving the blues home. They were enjoying their moment, as they interspersed the rockier edge with slower numbers showing the deep blues depths that are the undercurrent fueling the Rainbreakers.  Their number Heart of Gold certainly stood out. A performance that the audience really enjoyed as they warmed to this young band from Shrewsbury who left them wanting more.  The performance like Elles Bailey gave the judges plenty of food for thought.

The energy and fantastic performances that all five acts put in were spell bounding. Anyone of the bands could have represented the UK in Europe & USA. The commitment they demonstrate to Blues and live music is astounding, between them they had driven over 1,000 miles to get to the Cavern and had the prospect of the return journey at the end of the event

UKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The CavernUKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The CavernNext up, were the winners from the eight bands that played at The Great Rhythm and Blues Festival over Bank Holiday weekend as part of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned Acts project.  Introducing the band was Paul & Margaret Foxley, Robert J. Hunter had only a couple of weeks to prepare as they brought their urban blues to the Cavern. Like the other bands, they were so excited to be playing at such an iconic venue.  A trio that delivered an authentic modern blues sound.  The vocals at times overpowered the sound which is a small point as the sound they were creating was rollicking fun.  Another act that smiled and delivered the blues and gave the judges something to ponder over.

UKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The CavernThe fourth band of the Challenge was LaVendore Rogue. What a stellar set, Joel Fisk once again demonstrating his skills as a blues guitarist. You can always count on front man JoJo to put on a show and tonight they did. The audience reaction was loud and excited them. They were lapping up the music that the band delivered. Not pure blues but every song has deep roots into the heritage of the blues from Charlie Patton and beyond.  Leaving the stage the judges had another band to consider before the final act that had to follow that barnstorming session.

UKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The CavernLast, but definitely not least was Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion. Stylish, sophisticated blues with a jazzy edge. High-quality authentic blues. The title track of their current album, This Is The Life I Choose captured the life and motivation of musicians who play their music live.  Their performance of Angel of Mercy was one of the best I have ever heard Zoe sing and Blue Commotion were spot on with every note and the crafted spaces. What a rousing finale and I am so glad I was not a Judge.

Five Acts, raffle tickets about, prizes handed out and the success of the Minute auctions. The final votes had been counted and verified.

The Winner is: …….. As Dave Raven and Ashwyn Smyth handed over the responsibility of presenting the trophy to last year’s Challenge winner Kaz Hawkins.  The baton, well stylish trophy really, was presented to LaVendore Rogue. They now will be representing the UK in Memphis and Hell.

UKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The Cavern

Closing the challenge with a party feel was a mighty jam. The stage was filled with the winning band, joined by Connie Lush, Kyla Brox, Kaz Hawkins and the mighty voice and trumpet of Victor Brox. What a resounding end to a challenge that will be long talked about as the blues sung out loud live at the Cavern once more.

UKBlues Federation Hosts Challenge at The Cavern

 

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

 

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

 

 

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge. Who are the five excited bands talking about 4th UK Blues Challenge? They are Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion; LaVendore Rogue, The Rainbreakers ; Elles Bailey  and Robert J. Hunter. The fifth band added to the list rose to the Jessica Foxley unsigned challenge having played on the main stage at  Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival.   

 

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeFive Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeTell us what it means to Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

 ZSBC: Firstly, the fact that the number of our peers nominating is so large gives real credibility to the artists involved, so we are also proud about that.    We are also proud to be nominated as we see it as a recognition of our original music, concept and style.  We don’t write the songs to any kind of formula or to fit in with any cliche or pre-conceived ideas of what defines blues in 2017. Read more…..

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeFive Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to LaVendore Rogue to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

LVR: We’ve been to hell and back a few times over the years, and playing in the states has to be a dream of any UK musician, so it’s an honour to be considered for the UK British Blues Challenge – we’ve been working hard over the last few years, and it’s great to see its been recognised by the UK Blues Federation. Read More …

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues ChallengeFive Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to The Rainbreakers to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

RB: We were overwhelmed to have been nominated, especially when we don’t really consider ourselves to be a blues band as such. We think it shows willingness from the scene to accept the new approach to the blues that some of the younger bands of today are displaying. Obviously we would be thrilled to go through to the European and American challenges especially as we are hugely influenced by a plethora of bands from the states! Read More….

 

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to Elles Bailey to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

EB: Love the fact that European Challenge at Hell – didn’t know it existed on Earth. I am chuffed to bits to be performing in the Challenge this year. I am a newbie on the scene over the last twelve to eighteen months I have been quickly accepted in the Blues community. It has just exceed my expectations, definitely delighted to be performing in Liverpool and looking forward to seeing the other acts. It is definitely going to be a great night. Read More…

 

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Tell us what it means to Robert J. Hunter Band to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

RHB: We are a struggling band on the blues scene, if we are even on the blues scene is up for debate. We work very hard and we are playing the long game, enjoying every step of the way. But to have an opportunity like this is an absolute honour, we have been given a chance and we promise we won’t disappoint. Thank you to JFU and UKBlues Federation for believing in us.. the opportunity to be able to play somewhere called Hell is exciting on it’s own. Read More…

More about The UK Blues Challenge

What is the UK Blues Challenge (UKBC)?

An annual event organised by the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) at a different location in the UK at which a number of bands/acts compete in front of a panel of judges drawn from across the blues spectrum. The winning band/act is invited to represent the UK at the following year’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis and European Blues Challenge (EBC) which is held in a different European country each year.

The International and European Blues Challenges are organised by, respectively, the Blues Foundation  and the European Blues Union (EBU)

We are very pleased that this year’s event will take place at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool on Sunday 10th September 2017 starting at 16.00. More details can be found  and how to buy a ticket for the event HERE. UKBlues is excited to be bringing the blues back to the Cavern sixty years on!

How are the contestants in the UKBC chosen?

As an Active Member of the EBU meeting the EBU’s laid down criteria (see EBC rules here) and the sole UK Affiliate of the Blues Foundation, UKBlues are honoured to be invited to create and manage the selection process to choose the band or artist who will represent the UK at these prestigious events each year.
The first stage of the process this year saw a panel of more than 250 people from across the blues spectrum in the UK which included members of UKBlues, all UK based Active Members of the EBU, members of the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association, festival and gig promoters, writers (both online and print media), musicians, fans and blues supporters etc. being invited to submit the three UK acts that they felt would best represent the UK at the EBC and IBC.

Members of this panel were asked to place their choices in order (first, second, third) and points were awarded according to the position in which the acts are placed by you.

The 4 top scoring available acts after this process was complete were invited to participate in the UKBC where the contestants will perform in front of a panel of judges who will use the same criteria to award points to the contestants as are used at the EBC and IBC.
In a new departure this year, a fifth band will be invited to participate which will be selected from the bands who have been invited by Jessica Foxley Unsigned to play at the Great British Rhythm ‘n’ Blues Festival which takes place in Colne over the August Bank Holiday weekend –  These bands are, generally, under the radar and being selected to play at Colne is a big step up for them.

The band will be chosen by a panel of representatives of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned project and will be chosen on the strength of their performance at Colne.

The winner of the UKBC will be invited to represent the UK at both the 2018 EBC and IBC.

What are the selection and judging criteria?

When making their selections, the members of the panel are asked to bear in mind the following EBC rules which apply:

  • The leader of the band must have the nationality of the country he/she represents.
  • At least 50% of the members of the contestant bands must reside in the country they represent.
  • Acts who participated in a previous edition of the EBC, but did not win, may compete again after a period of 3 years.
  • Bands of which half or more of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 3 years.
  • Bands of which less than half of the musicians participated in a previous EBC with another band, may compete again after a period of 2 years.

Contestants at the UKBC, EBC and IBC are expected to perform at least 50% original music in their set and they are awarded points using the following criteria as laid down by the EBU:

  • Originality
  • Instrumental talent
  • Vocal talent
  • Stage presence
  • Blues content

You can read the full EBC rules here

This process is the same as that which has been used in previous years and is approved by the Blues Foundation and the European Blues Union

Five Excited Bands Talking About 4th UK Blues Challenge

Robert J. Hunter Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

Robert J. Hunter Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

Robert J. Hunter Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge

Robert J. Hunter Talks about
2017 Blues Challenge

 

BD: Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 4th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.

RHB: Our pleasure, this is an incredible opportunity for us.

BD: Before we start, tell us about performing at The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival in Colne over Bank Holiday Weekend as part of the Jessica Foxley Unsigned bands.

RHB: We were lucky to have been chosen by JFU to perform and it was an amazing experience. A festival we had been trying to get onto for a long time, and it did not disappoint. We were worried that our blend of original dirty blues may not have suited, but we had the best time and received amazing feedback. So thanks to JFU again for giving us a chance.

BD: 2017, sees the fourth UK British Blues Challenge.  This year the UKBlues Federation are “Bringing The Blues back to The cavern 60 years on..” Tell us what it means to Robert J. Hunter Band to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?

RHB: We are a struggling band on the blues scene, if we are even on the blues scene is up for debate. We work very hard and we are playing the long game, enjoying every step of the way. But to have an opportunity like this is an absolute honour, we have been given a chance and we promise we won’t disappoint. Thank you to JFU and UKBlues Federation for believing in us.. the opportunity to be able to play somewhere called Hell is exciting on it’s own.

BD: What are the Blues to Robert J. Hunter Band? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?

RHB: Our sound is rooted in British blues and RnB, but sonically is in the direction of more American southern blues. America is where it all began after all and I think it is any musicians dream to have the opportunity to play in the States. Blues-rock seems to be the chosen weapon of lots of new bands across Britain, Europe and the US, including us, it is interesting seeing how bands are taking the blues in its rawest form and creating something truly original with the pallet they have to work from.

BD: Your current album is Where I’m From; tell us a bit about the album and have you plans to return to the studio?

RHB: That album was a way for me to showcase the variety of my writing, aside from the band. Solo, just me and a guitar for a day of recording.

We are working on new material and spent a weekend in the studio recently recording all live and we are currently mixing the record, and deciding about the release. We have always struggled capturing the adrenaline and passion of a live show on record, but this time we are a step in the right direction. It’s essentially an old school rhythm and blues album wound around the raucous dirty blues people may be used to hearing from us.

BD: What do you feel The UKBlues Federation can bring to the UK Blues what would you like the Federation to be doing for Blues artists on the circuit in Britain today?

RHB: The British blues scene is really buzzing at the moment, there are more and more young bands experimenting with the blues and there are some incredible blues guitarists on the scene. Sadly, a lot of bands go unnoticed, with a lot of the same few acts working the scene with only one or two new additions now and then. There a lot of artists putting their heart and soul into their craft but struggling to make a dent into the scene. I think more opportunities for young original blues bands need to be available and I think the UKBlues Federation can and is doing that. We are very lucky to have this opportunity.

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?

RHB:
Lee Brilleaux on vocals and harp,
Big Mama Thornton on vocals
Norman Watt Roy on bass
Mitch Mitchell on drums
Bonnie Raitt on slide
Keith Emerson on Hammond
Rory Gallagher on lead guitar.
It would be chaos, but damn would it be good.

 

BD: Thank you for your time. The challenge at The Cavern on 10th September will be an amazing night of live music as we hear the five bands – LaVendore Rogue – Elles Bailey – Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion – The Rainbreakers and Robert J. Hunter Band.

Buy Your ticket here and be part of a great night HERE.

 

UKBlues Challenge Fifth Contestant Announced

UKBlues Challenge Fifth Contestant Announced

UKBlues Challenge Fifth Contestant Announced

UKBlues Challenge Fifth Contestant Announced

 

 

UKBlues Federation are delighted to announce that following their outstanding performance at The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival, Colne over the weekend Robert J. Hunter Band are the fifth and final piece of the jigsaw for the 4th UK Blues Challenge.

Robert J. Hunter Band described as ‘Dirty rhythm and blues from the depths of Alderney, based in London.’ Born on Alderney, Channel Islands but now based in London, Robert J. Hunter combines his gruff and powerful voice with the wild thud of overdriven blues guitar. Read more over at The Federation’s NEWSLETTER

The Line Up for 4th UK Blues challenge is:

Elles Bailey

LaVendore Rogue

Rainbreakers

Robert J. Hunter Band

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

 

Bluesdoodles looks forward to chatting to the fifth piece of the Challenge jigsaw puzzle Robert J. Hunter Band. In the meantime check out what the other four bands have said – HERE.

Get your tickets now for what promises to be a great celebration of Blues in the UK.

Doors will open at 15.30 with the first band on stage at 16.00. It is anticipated that the event will finish by about 21.00 and will close with a set from the winners and, we hope, feature some top guests who will be at the event.
Bluesdoodles invites you to share this news, help support UKBlues in what it is doing. Visit our website – UKBlues to read about membership benefits and to join

UKBlues Federation supporting the 4th Challenge

“Bringing the Blues back to The Cavern 60 years on….”

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UKBlues Challenge Fifth Contestant Announced