Winners : O'Neill's Undiscovered Live Final
The final of O’Neill’s Undiscovered Live 2007 competition was rocked by the shock decision of its judges to choose joint winners – rock band Hot Monocles, from Sutton Coldfield, and reggae and ska act New Town Kings, which hails from Colchester.
Now in its third year, the national competition – a search for the best in unsigned music – is attracting an increasingly talented pool of bands from across the UK. Hundreds of the UK’s best unsigned acts battled through local and regional finals to win a place at the national final, which was held on 15th August at the Carling Academy Islington, London.
The standard of the six finalists was so high that the judges thought two acts deserved to be recognised as winners of 2007 for the first time ever. Radio 1 DJ Colin Murray, one of the judges, said: “It’s unprecedented – we’ve always been able to thrash out a winner. This certainly hasn’t happened before and I doubt it’ll ever happen again.”
New Town Kings performed original tracks La La World, Dynamite and Stay on your Feet and a lively cover of Monkey Man by Toots and the Maytals. The band won some top-of-the-range equipment – three Epiphone Les Paul guitars and a Marshall guitar amplifier half stack.
Hot Monocles played an original set comprising Take your Best Shot, Rhythm and Booze, The Forest and Snobs, along with a unique cover of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter. The band secured a two-day recording session.
In a further twist, the judging panel thought that the two bands deserved an additional prize, and they were each awarded a gig at their local Carling Academy to showcase their talent to an even wider audience.
Murray, who hosted the event for the third year running added: “The judges were so split down the middle with two bands and we felt it was unfair to give it to one over the other – they both deserve the title of Undiscovered Live 2007 winners.
“New Town Kings were great live, they were the best audience pleasers and are made to play live gigs, and for that reason we felt they’d benefit from the new equipment. We thought Hot Monocles would really benefit from recording a proper demo, which they didn’t have.”