Rockin’ along

Rob Lea
Rob Lea
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A trio of local line-ups have impressed judges at the initial stages of Live and Unsigned, the UK’s biggest original music competition.

Blackpool rising star Rob Lea (above), with his band Figaro Magnifico sailed through the audition stage and will now be competing against the most talented bands and artists in the country at the regional final showcase of Live and Unsigned 2011 – all in a bid to be signed.

Singer/songwriter Rob plays drums in the band and previously reached the regional finals of Open Mic 2009. He is joined in Figaro Magnifico by Chris Holland on guitar and James Campion on drums.

“I really want to put Blackpool on the map for having some of the best singers, musicians and bands,” said Rob. Also making it through to the competition’s next stage is Don’t Start Fires, a four-piece from Blackpool.

“This is the biggest original music competition in the UK for unsigned bands and artists so we are battling it out for the chance to play at the 02 arena in London,” said a spokesman for the band. At the moment we are preparing for the regional final showcase on March 6 at The Willows in Salford.

Completing the local contingent are A’priori. They have been together a year, practice four days a week and strive hard for success and, in addition to making it through to the regional final of Live and Unsigned at The Willows on March 6, are also in Surface Unsigned at the Jabez Clegg Bar in Manchester on March 3.

“Even though we have only been playing a year our sound is so tight and full you wouldn’t know,” said Conner Langfield from the band.

Live and Unsigned has attracted over 50,000 entries in the past five years.

Chris Grayston, events director of Live and Unsigned, said: “This is all about originality, live ability and credibility. We don’t accept demos or submissions and everyone auditions live. We’ve got some fantastic prizes up for grabs this year in a £100,000 prize pool, so there are lots of opportunities for everyone entering.”

For more information go to the website