There was a time when to be labelled an “unsigned” artist was a proverbial kiss of death within the music industry, confined to the dusty and ale-ridden pub open mike-night, with no hope for that rare commodity: the big break. Hopefully such labels will become a thing of the past with Gibson’s monthly evening event of brand-spanking new music, launched in conjunction with Aloud.com and Emap.

A plethora of unsigned British artists joined forces at London’s The Fly bar’s intimate basement setting, hoping to become the next undiscovered James Morrison or Arctic Monkeys. As the stage patiently waited, adorned with a heady mix of Gibson acoustic/electric guitars, Valley Arts guitars, an impressive Slingerland drum kit and various Epiphone amps, the crowd were treated to a DJ set peppered with hits from the Stone Roses, Pixies and the Rolling Stones to get them in the mood. And what an eclectic mix of live music sets there were on show, with each act bringing a different flavour to the night.

As the room began to swell, the evening kicked off to smouldering beginnings with solo artist Guy Swimmer- L.Rey, taking quietly to the stage and treating the audience to a spiced concoction of Latino grooves. In direct opposition to his Manchester roots, the set swayed to the rhythms and rhymes of Cuban soul, sharing more than a sprinkling of similarity to the likes of Paolo Nutini and James Morrison. Although maybe a touch too much on the pop-side for some indie pickers, the audience seemed to sway during the set, brought to the familiar finishing of Paul Simon classic ’50 Ways To Leave Your Lover’ against the trickling bongo drum beat.

Tropicalia fusion soon gave way to the familiar flared-jean grunge of Ten City Nation. Following in the footsteps of 90s godfathers Nirvana, the set sometimes veered a little too heavy on a grunge tradition that made its biggest impact over a decade ago, but the electric thrashes of Queens Of The Stone Age saved Ten City Nation from floundering in the early 90s vault. As guitarist Seymour Patrick sprawled and convoluted on the floor, the set took on the epic rock landscape of Soundgarden. The experimental territory of feedback distortion was in stark contrast to final band Landaus, who swaggered into view with the attitude and confidence of Northern scally collective Kasabian. Reaching for the microphone, the band matched pulsing aggressive beats over Red Hot Chili Pepper inducing riffs, which certainly sets them up on an angular indie platform alongside (campaigners against suburban banality) Hard-Fi and Little Man Tate. Undoubtedly, the Hull based band’s elasticised footwork and punchy guitar-work strike a universal beat we can all tap our converse to.

Perhaps the most subversive offering, sought attention in the edgy realism of Pete Sound (already featured on BBC 6 Music and a regular down at Camden’s Barfly). This British Citizen Cope shares much in common with the street-musings and everyday observations of street-poet Mike Skinner, turning folk on its head for a new electro generation.

Which only goes to show that the future of British unsigned music is far from experiencing a slump in the wake of the new rave revolution. And with this month’s offering, the bar is surely raised for September’s live chapter, which will see a host of bands thrash it out once again for guitar-shaped domination.

The next Gibson Guitar and Aloud.com event takes place at The Fly, London, W1 on September 27. 

The night will feature a “Best of” line-up with five bands that have been signed following appearances at this event over the past year. Make sure you reserve your place now to avoid disappointment.

For guest list entry please email jeremy.singer@gibson.com by September 25.

Photo Credit: Jessica Long 


L. Rey


L. Rey


Pete Sound


Pete Sound


Ten City Nation


Ten City Nation


Landaus


Landaus