Band on an orient express of their own

NEW schoolboy band China Town could be on a meteoric rise to fame, after wowing judges in a national competition.

The three 16-year old sixth formers from Wath’s St Pius RC School stormed through Live and Unsigned auditions at Sheffield - and are now through to the regional final on April 3 at Sheffield City Hall.

Lead singer/guitarist Tom Hemingway from Rawmarsh, bass player Tom Blessed from Bolton and drummer Liam Simpson-O’Regan from Darfield have played for just over a year, but in that time have done over 30 gigs in response to demand.

Despite their tender years, they write their material themselves, and now have a repertoire of 16 original songs. They place themselves in the Indie-rock bracket but with a liking for ballads.

Tom’s dad Andy, himself a former band musician, said the lads got together initially for a charity concert at Mexborough’s Boy and Barrel pub, then never looked back...

From using a garage for practice sessions, they now have a venue in Mexborough to use each Friday evening after school.

The Live and Unsigned launch pad is a massive one with a world tour and full media spotlight promised to the eventual winners, who will walk away with a recording and management contract with Future Music and investment of up to £50, 000. The best auditionees from their Regional Final Showcase also get the opportunity to play support slots with a selection of major headlining acts.

China Town have been singled out for mention by the Live and Unsigned team, as one to watch in the upcoming showcase at Sheffield.

Mexborough businessman Andy said: “There were over 800 bands at Sheffield last Sunday and after more than 20 had performed, China Town were the only ones to get a tick. The lads were brilliant - the other bands were generally a lot older and so intense, and it’s a big thing to play in front of six judges and on Sky TV. They’re now getting picked up by local radio and are busy working towards April. They get three-and-a-half minutes to make an impression and they will - they’ve got a unique sound....”

Live and Unsigned has attracted over 50,000 entries in the past five years and is established as the definitive music competition for original acts.

Previous winners of the competition include Kiddo 360 who went on to pick up a Vodafone Live Award, B-Kay and Kazz who broke into the top 30 charts and last year’s winners were The Lottery Winners and Underline the Sky, who also won the ‘Road to V’.

For more information on the competition, go to Tickets are also available from the website.