On the Saturday afternoon of Marlborough Rising the next generation of talent took over. Aspiring local performers were given their chance to shine with the Marlborough Rising Talent event on the Priory Gardens stage.
The past few days have been filled with a vast array of musical talent in the heart of Marlborough thanks to the organisers of Marlborough Rising, a new initiative set up to fill the void after the closure of the long-running Jazz Festival.
The festival has attracted music-lovers both young an old and has showcased a diverse range of genres, from the indie pop rockers known as Scouting For Girls, whose noughties hit “She’s So Lovely” was the soundtrack of many teenager’s childhoods, to award-winning vocalist Tina May who entertained the audience on Saturday with a celebration of classics from Edith Piaf.
As a keen music lover, I thoroughly enjoyed the Marlborough Talent experience; three and a half hours of entertainment were provided by eight acts at no cost. DJ Charlie Webb both acted as the compère and filled the space between acts with techno beats which kept the afternoon running smoothly.
The first performer was the talented Daisy Miles; despite her young years she had surprising control over her voice, even taking on the haunting “Creep” by Radiohead as her final song after her predominantly feel-good country set. Daisy is a promising individual and I believe there are great things in store for her.
Beth Knights, whose home town is Marlborough, provided a relaxed acoustic set with country and pop tunes; her sweet voice is comparable with the likes of Nina Nesbitt. Her cover of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ was an audience favourite.
Her family is clearly talented musically as brother Joe – who helped her out percussion-wise by somehow turning a crate-like object into a drum – was also a quarter of the four-piece indie band Basement Club. The band hale from Swindon and played a set composed entirely of their own songs. They are active on Spotify and their debut single ‘Florence’ was particularly impressive. Although their sound wasn’t ground-breaking, they played a solid and professional set and were one of my firm favourites.
Billy & Louie, who are twins influenced by blues and soul, sang a mixture of covers and original songs and entertained the audience with their exceptional vocals.
Kaleido Bay was my favourite act. They were the most professional sounding of the afternoon, with by far the best instrumentals. Similar to Muse, they are a hotly anticipated three-piece band from Swindon who are playing at Lechlade Festival in 2019. Most of their set included original songs; “Nothing More” and “Ascension” were stand-outs. Their covers were well chosen. I would without a doubt buy their albums.
The penultimate act was Courtney Johnson, a 16-year old aspiring singer-songwriter with a sweet and likeable personality. She had an edgy, soulful voice and, again, was a strong performer with a bright future.
The last act, Road To Havoc, was a heavy rock band; in their own words they aim to “wreak musical havoc” and they did – I would not be surprised if they had dented the drum kit. The vocals were not particularly strong, but they provided an energetic set that left the audience on a high.
I feel that Marlborough Rising is a fantastic idea and one that I hope will be repeated for many years – the exposure that these talented local performers have been given should not be taken for granted in an industry that is becoming more and more difficult to excel in each year.
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