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Future Sound of Nottingham Final 2013

June 7 2013

Winners: The Gorgeous Chans with Nusic's Mark Del (PHOTO: RIOT PHOTOGRAPHY)

THE Gorgeous Chans will open the main stage at Splendour after winning the Future Sound of Nottingham competition at Rock City.

The nine-piece band will be lining up alongside fellow Notts artists Jake Bugg, Dog Is Dead and Indiana, plus Squeeze, Maximo Park and KT Tunstall, at the festival in Wollaton Park on Saturday, July 20.

“We still can’t believe it,” says 19-year-old saxophone player Liam Webber. “It’s not quite sunk in that we just played Rock City, let alone that in 12 days we’ll be playing Splendour.”

The band beat the Loophole Project, Tasha Dean, Frankie Rudolf, Huskies and Sam Jones at the Talbot Street venue on Sunday night, by winning the most points from a combination of votes from a panel of judges and crowd reaction.

Along with myself were Jake Bugg’s manager Jason Hart, rising Notts music star Harleighblu, BBC arts reporter Geeta Pendse, Confetti boss Craig Chettle, Left Lion editor Jared Wilson and Anton Lockwood from DHP, which runs Splendour.

Although the judges voted North Notts acoustic rocker Sam Jones the winner, with the GorGorgeous Chans in second place, the noise level reached by the crowd when asked to cheer for their favourite act, combined to give them first place.

“Our fans are just the best,” says Liam of the band’s large following who had turned out to see them.

The band also features Brandon Hill, Oscar Price, Olli Wilson-Smith, Ephraim Staton and Daniel Potts. For the Rock City show they were joined by Elliot Labbate, Rob Upton and Tom Bond.

“We’re all students,” says Liam.

“Brandon’s just finished secondary school, Ephraim’s going into his third year at university and Rob is halfway through a PhD or something!”

They met at school and would jam together until forming The Gorgeous Chans about a year ago.

“Vampire Weekend are a big influence, as is Paul Simon’s Graceland album,” says Liam.

They missed the Andy Murray Wimbledon win as they were setting up for the show during the afternoon.

“Ephraim was gutted,” says Liam. “We were soundchecking when Murray won, and whispers of it just sort of buzzed around the stage.”

The night included an appearance by Saint Raymond, the 18-year-old from Bramcote who has toured with Gabrielle Aplin and reached No. 25 in the iTunes chart.

After the show The Gorgeous Chans celebrated with a burger.

“And then we went home... we were absolutely shattered,” says Liam.

This week the band released their debut EP, Jaguar Club as a free download through their Bandcamp and Soundcloud websites. They’ll be working hard to perfect their set for Splendour, he says.

“It’s going to be amazing and hopefully we’ll get to meet KT Tunstall. We’re all hoping that Jools Holland will be playing with Squeeze as that would be pretty cool. It’ll also be great to see Georgie Rose and Harleighblu play.”

The band have only been to Splendour as music fans in the past and highlights for them included Madness in 2009 and Paolo Nutini at the first festival in 2008. He adds: “We just can’t wait to be on that stage.”

Competition organiser Mark Del from Nusic says: “‘The Gorgeous Chans nailed it. Their performance was absolutely epic; full of fun, vibrancy and just the right amount of sonic chaos.

“Just like The Afterdark Movement last year they’ll bring the necessary energy to get people off their bums and dancing early doors.”

He adds: “Winning the public vote and coming second in the judges’ vote is the very definition of being a worthy winner. To win over both the public and the experts shows you’re doing something very, very right.”

The annual competition to put a local artist on the Splendour main stage is run by Nusic with the help of Confetti and the Julie Cotton Foundation.

“We are proud to be a part of it and support what Nusic are doing,” says Mark Cotton, who set up the foundation as a tribute to his wife, who died of cancer in 2001.

“It gives us a chance to create and develop opportunities for local youngsters to work on and experience a professional live event in terms of production.”

Mark Del, who set up the competition five years ago, adds: “To see six Nottingham acts living the dream for that one night, getting inspired to push on and pursue their musicals dreams, and all in front of hundreds of enthusiastic local new music lovers... that’s why we do what we do. It’s job done for another year, roll on Splendour.”

Splendour is at Wollaton Park on Saturday, July 20. Tickets are £37.50, but city residents pay £27.50, under-17s from the city just £15, under-17s from the county £27.50 and under-11s go free. For full details go to 

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