Two local bands blast their way to regional final

Gary Bartholomew and Reece Burton from Cokkie Jar
Gary Bartholomew and Reece Burton from Cokkie Jar

TWO home-grown bands have beaten stiff competition from across the south east to reach the regional finals of a national contest.

Reece Burton and Gary Bartholomew, from Cookie Jar, and a separate group, anyThing, took part in the Live and Unsigned concert on Saturday at the Hove Centre in true Battle of the Bands style.

The band, anyThing, from left: Harrison Caruana, George  MacDonald and Richard Lock

The band, anyThing, from left: Harrison Caruana, George MacDonald and Richard Lock

More than 120 bands jammed their way through the competition, singing their self-penned material, and both groups were two of only 15 to make the grade to the next stage, which will be held on Saturday, April 16.

The judging panel included Radio 1’s DJ and broadcaster Annie Nightingale and the lead singer of Slade, Noddy Holder.

Mr Burton, a painter and decorator, who lives in Marina, St Leonards, said: “This is a first for us and we are really excited and ecstatic about getting through to this stage. We write all of our own songs and felt we were strong enough to enter.

“We used to sing cover tracks from bands like The Raconteurs and Steely Dan but to get more widely known you have to write your own material.”

Cookie Jar’s music is mainly acoustic rock and Mr Burton, 34, describes their songs as ‘very upbeat with a summer feel to them’.

Mr Burton is the singer and guitarist and Mr Bartholomew, who lives in Bexhill, is the drummer.

Richard Lock, lead vocalist for anyThing, which performs folk funk-style music, said: “We almost forgot that we had sent off our application. We only formed last July three days after our first gig in Pissarro’s, and are pretty pleased to get this far.

“Regardless if we win or not, we have had the opportunity to play at a large venue like the Hove Centre.”

The group’s other members are 16-year-old drummer George MacDonald and bassist Harrison Caruana.

If both bands make it to the grand final of the annual competition, to be held later this year, they will compete against 24 other groups from across the UK.

The overall winner will get a record deal and the chance to play at Reading and Glastonbury, as well as £30,000 in fees to help promote their band.