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Unsigned Live review: Great performances with everything from pop to roof-raising rock

PUBLISHED: 16:40 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:40 20 May 2019

The Renadeans headlining Unsigned Live at The Waterfront. Picture: Wayne Savage

The Renadeans headlining Unsigned Live at The Waterfront. Picture: Wayne Savage

Wayne Savage

An enthusiastic crowd turned out to support Hannah Birtwell, Leon O'Leary, Bridget Holmes, Solomon Lake and The Renadeans at an Unsigned music event in Norwich.

Hannah Birtwell performing at Unsigned Live at The Waterfront. Picture: Wayne SavageHannah Birtwell performing at Unsigned Live at The Waterfront. Picture: Wayne Savage

Hosted by The Garage with support from the Young Norfolk Arts Trust, Norfolk Music Hub and Youth Music, there were great performances with everything from pop, ambient rock and a pop/fusion to dream-pop and good old, roof-raising rock.

Birtwell kicked things off with some catchy pop and RnB fuelled songs. Complete with catchy hooks and a voice that belied her age, she grew in confidence with each track; drawing people to the stage.

There was a lovely filmic quality to O'Leary's set. Reminiscent of Damien Rice at times, it was a solid performance, with haunting melodies, distinctive vocals and strong harmonies with his sister Issy.

Leon O'Leary performing at Unsigned Live at The Waterfront. Picture: Wayne SavageLeon O'Leary performing at Unsigned Live at The Waterfront. Picture: Wayne Savage

Holmes, appearing solo for the first time since the break-up of her band, gave a mesmerising performance; helped by luscious vocals with songs that built in intensity.

Lake - a balladeer in the mould of East Anglian superstar Ed Sheeran infused an infectious Latin American vibe into his pop/folk set which went down well with the growing crowd.

The Renadeans - drummer Ivan D'Eath, brother Max on bass and backup vocals and friend Paul Murray on guitar and lead vocals - were the perfect band to end the night. Great vocals, dirty guitar licks, perfect patter; it was the sort of music best played loud or not at all.

Bridget Holmes performing at Unsigned Live at The Waterfront. Picture: Wayne SavageBridget Holmes performing at Unsigned Live at The Waterfront. Picture: Wayne Savage

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Congratulations must be given to The Garage's Youth Tech Team of Josh Thompson, Benji Filmer and Michael Kearney. They were in four hours before doors opened, setting up sound and lighting for every act; making sure everything went smoothly on the night.

Also enjoying the gig was The Garage's Young Patron Finn Doherty who performed at Unsigned in 2017. He said: "It put me on one of the biggest stages, probably the biggest stage, I've ever played. I learned a lot and I'd definitely recommend it."

Solomon Lake performing at Unsigned Live at The Waterfront. Picture: Wayne SavageSolomon Lake performing at Unsigned Live at The Waterfront. Picture: Wayne Savage

Carrie Mansfield, creative director at The Garage, said: "Our work is all about supporting and encouraging young people to believe in themselves and their talents - this project does just that and has been a real success."

The Unsigned project was created to provide young musicians with the opportunity to take their music, performance and professional skills to the next level.

It gives them valuable, focused training time with experienced professional music artists, who help them improve their artistry alongside targeted music career mentoring and marketing advice.

- To find out more about the Unsigned project visit The Garage's website

- Tickets/information on their next event, The Garage Youth Forum presents Plug-In Live on May 30, are available here

- For more Norwich music check out our dedicated page every Thursday in the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News or follow Enjoy Music More on Twitter and Instagram

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