So after seventeen shows we crowned our 2016 winners last night, but before I get to that there’s a few people I need to thank…
Firstly, the o2 Academy team – Josh, Lee, Andy, Mickey, Ben and anyone I’m forgetting; They’ve made booking this event a really easy process, and with a venue that big we needed all the support we could get! Thanks to them for allowing us to put on our biggest ever show and we hope to be able to bring more local bands to their venue. Thanks to The Fleece and The Thunderbolt too, they were a massive help in getting the 2015 event off the ground, and they’ve been stellar this year too.
Secondly, to the Underdog crew ; Aislinn originally signed up to run our press for the 2016 competition, but ended up taking on a load of extra jobs that were essential to the success of the event (if you need any PR work for your band check out her new company here). Hazel has worked the doors at all seventeen shows (she is the best in the business) and has always gone the extra mile to ensure all our bands and audience members have a great time. To the rest of the crew from last night; Danny on the merch table, Adam on backstage, Tim on front of house, Alysia helping out on the door, and George and Peyton taking photos (which we can’t wait to show you) – they all worked incredibly hard last night to make sure the event ran smoothly and made my job so much easier!
Thirdly, to all the judges throughout the entire process – there are too many to name here, but they all gave up their evenings to come support the competition and it’s not an easy job! Without them The Underdog wouldn’t work, and we are so grateful for all their hard work.
Finally, to everyone who came out to any of the shows, your support for the local scene made the competition what it is – our audiences have been incredible this year! It’s amazing to watch our guests discover new bands, dance, laugh, drink and enjoy the local music. Please continue to support your local scene, go out and watch some new bands and tell your friends to come to The Underdog next year!
MicroDog; We saw so many great bands during the heats and not all of them could progress to the later rounds, so we decided to host a few extra events so we could choose one act to work with over the next few months. We wanted to find someone with raw talent that needed a bit of a push to get to the attention of the local scene, and we had some great artists to choose from. We eventually decided on Caitlin Elliman – a local singer songwriter who’s a little bit different. She’s got an incredible voice, great songs and an incredible alternative and pensive sound. With a little bit of help we believe she has the potential to do really well in the UK market so make sure you check her out at a live show. Over the next few months we’ll be going into the studio with her as well as getting her a photoshoot and building her a website. We’re really looking forward to showing you what she has to offer!
Third Place; Our first ever prize winner from outside of Bristol, and the first band to make it through the Wild Card round and then go on to win a prize, Drogo from Wiltshire impressed the judge’s throughout the process with their hard-hitting songs and great stage show (they should probably team up with last year’s 2nd place winners White Noise Radio). We’ll be taking Drogo to the Bristol Live Room to record a couple of live videos, which are an essential part of getting shows these days. We can’t wait to show the footage!
Second Place; If there was a prize for song of the competition, it would go to We Merry Kings for “Bad Wolf”. There isn’t, but that doesn’t matter as they’ve scooped the second place prize! They’ll be going into the studio with local producer Ben Capp, who’s worked on some of the biggest bands coming out of the Bristol area. WMK have arguably the best commercial viability of the entire process, so with a bit of development (and some money thrown at them) they could break out onto the national circuit in the next year – so keep an eye on them!
Grand Prize Winners; What can we say about the Underdog: 2016 winners? The first band to ever set a perfect judge’s score. Imprints were incredible throughout the entire process. Their performances at The Thunderbolt, The Fleece and o2 Academy got the whole room dancing, and we think they’re going to do very well for themselves over the next few years. They got the highest judge’s score last night, as well as a HUGE amount of votes from the audience (the highest we’ve ever had) so they truly deserve the top spot, the £1,000 cash prize and the giant novelty cheque. We’ll be catching up with them over the next week to see how they’re going to spend the money but if you haven’t had a chance to see them make sure you get down to Mr Wolfs on 11th November for an Oxjam takeover with our new favourite band ‘Tea & Biscuits‘ (Facebook event here)
To the rest of our finalists; Stone Cold Fiction, Dusted Out and Plain Royals – they all put on incredible performances. We’d love to give them all prizes but that’s not how the competition works! If you ever get a chance to see them live the do it – they’re all worthy finalists and we hope they enjoyed their time on the main stage at the o2 Academy. Huge thank you to last year’s winners Myst for keeping the crowd entertained whilst we counted up the judge’s score and audience vote… they used so much fake smoke in their performance that we had to leave the production office backstage as it was all coming through the air vents!
We’ll be getting all the photos online over the next few days, and then we’re going to take some time off to work with our prize winners. We’ll keep you updated with their progress, but we’re going to be pretty quiet over the next few months while we prepare for our next shows towards the end of the year.
I hope you’ve all enjoyed The Underdog this year! Please continue to support the competition, the bands and future Synthetica Shows.
The Underdog / Synthetica
Photos by: George Hieron // Hazel Wiltshire // Peyton Connor.