LIVE: Future Of The Blues, Final

Tomorrow’s blues stars battle it out in deepest Chelsea.

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Remember Battles Of The Bands? A chance for several bands to be egged on by their mates, with a prize for the winner? Imagine this in a Chelsea BBQ and lobster joint (in conjunction with our pals at The Blues magazine), with an audience of industry types, and a record deal with Mascot as the prize.

Happily, all finalists here have reason to feel confident. And with twinkly blueser/radio presenter Big Boy Bloater hosting, it’s a friendly atmosphere. Poor opener Matthew Douglas is flanked by a backing track (to sadly 2D effect) but saved by stylish Isley Brothers-infused licks and a loveable face. Pint-sized Welsh brothers Henry’s Funeral Shoe generate a foot-stamping, Mick Jagger-strutting explosion of slide guitar, Keith Moon drums and raucous blues rock’n’roll. The Black Circles look like they’ve come for an indie night, but delight with Stevie Ray Vaughan-esque fun. Then enter “Kaz Hawkins and her band of men!”. A Belfast bundle of warmth, wit, 50s frock and red lipstick, she delivers a sparkling set – the crowd-seducing show of the night.

Glasgow’s Charlotte Marshall & The 45s are declared winners. A bouncing, seven-piece blues n’ soul group, pivoting on Charlotte’s diva wails, they make a colourful finale (even if their songs don’t win everyone over).

Still, joining the charge of Aaron Keylock, Dan Patlansky and co, all artists here confirm the range and quality of new blues guns for hire in 2015.

Polly Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.