Friday, March 15, 2013

The Great Unsigned

You may have already read my last few blogs where I have mentioned this. Duke, Rohan Delagado & Kumari 7, and Dik Guru are all regulars of the Great Unsigned, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. So I thought I'd give you an insight into what goes on, some of these acts may get their own blogs later.

I first encountered The Great Unsigned (T.G.U) as I was looking for a place to hone my stand up comedy  talent. Which was what I found in the T.G.U open mic night.
PictureThe main guy who is in charge of these events is Richard Green, you'll know him when you see him because he smiles a lot and can usually be seen wearing a David Bowie T-Shirt. He is a singer-songwriter as well as an organiser, he used to compère the nights but now you're more likely to see him playing as a performer. He'll play a few Bowie songs, and he will play them well, his voice is suited to Bowie and he is clearly a talented guitarist. If your lucky you may get to see him play his song 'Running through New York'. Its a very personal song to him, but also a bloody good song

PictureThat song was covered by another T.G.U.'s promising artists Ellie Jones, she gave it a mellow flavour and arguably made it better. She's a young singer-songwriter who was good enough to remind my dad of Tanita Tikaram and make him want to rediscover that artist. She and the people who play with her are all accomplished musicians and singers and her shows mark her out as one of the biggest talents of the TGU.
The Black Feathers
Another act to look out for are The Black Feathers, who are not quite local but travel here to perform at the showcases. They are a two-piece folk band, similar in style to The Civil Wars. They describe themselves as "A combination of English folk influences, some Irish heritage, and large splash of Americana inspiration, all held together with close Bluegrass harmonies" who sing "songs of love, life, and death". Their well-written songs always captivate the audience.

There are too many acts with the great unsigned to fit into one blog. Most of the acts are solo singer songwriters who will come up and play some songs on an acoustic guitar. There's always a great variety of songs played and new groups seem to be formed all the time.

One of the special things about these gigs is that there is a great atmosphere, whether its the packed showcase nights or the standard open mics. The open mic gigs are just that, all you have to do is show up on the night and you can play, there's no booking or anything like that so it allows for many surprises with the number of people who show up.
Another good thing is that the people who play blend in with the regulars, there's no ego's and its the exact opposite of the X-factor in the way that these are all people who just want to play and share their love of music. I'm the odd one out at these open mic's as I am a comedian, but I've always found a friendly audience, who can offer me advice and a good chance to perform.
I can count myself lucky to have these events held literally just around the corner from where I live.

Don't just take my word for it though.
"People seemed to be transfixed by what they were watching. I attribute this to the quality of the acts on show, but also to their willingness to give the performers complete respect." -Dale Hanson

"Every artist was brilliant, the atmosphere was ecstatic, the audience were friendly, funny, attentive and supportive, if anyone has not been to one of Richards open mics (to play or watch) then you have to go to experience it, he is one of the nicest guys on the circuit and welcomes everyone, you will not be disappointed.-Shane Ball.

For more info look at: (I nicked the pics from these sites)

MONDAY.. Open Mic
The Roadhouse, Stirchley, (Hosted by Rob) 


The White Horse, Harborne,  (Host Jason Pegg)

The Red Lion , Shirley. (Hosted by Ray Hopcraft)

FRIDAY..Open Mic
The Coffee Room, Hurst St,  Birmingham. (Hosted by Paul Withers)

SATURDAY..Invitation only
The Coffee Room Showcase, Hurst St,  Birmingham. (Hosted by Paul Withers)

SUNDAY.. Invitation only
(Hosted by Richard Green)

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