August 21, 2012 - Peace Mix
If the first half of the Peace Mix Play Off at the Eden Project was astounding – then the second half ramped things right up to 11 – with Semper Fi, Niya Cato, Ricky Fleming, Gareth Leaman, Mutsa Gwazai and Lost Avenue.
After the vintage mellow melancholy of Georgie Rose, and a half hour break to set up stage for the second half, the Peace Mix Play Off took a heavier turn as Semper Fi, the winners of our stop at Beatroute Arts Centre, Glasgow roared into the set.
A six piece with an aeroplane’s amount of energy, Semper Fi were a refreshing dose of rock, to wake the audience mid-evening and mix things up. Frontman Paul Burns adds a big dose of Maynard James Keenan, while their groove reminds of Clutch, with a metallic edge ala Killswitch Engage. Theatrical, slightly camp, plus even tighter since Scotland, Semper Fi were brilliant – converting a fair few grime kids in the audience to the complex sounds of metal.
From riffing to rap, as Niya Cato of Bristol St Paul’s, one of the young producers we met at Hi Road Studios, came onstage next. A young flowing MC plus multi-instrumentalist with smooth delivery, Niya had one member of the crowd hysterical – a mega fan who knew all the words, throwing his own nice moves in the front row, compere John Robb told him he belonged on stage too. The NDF guys loved it too: knowing all the words and dancing down the front.
Third was something special: Ricky Fleming. Winner of the Mic Relay tour stop at Future Arts Leeds, live at Eiger Studios, Ricky wowed the crowd then with his honest, heartfelt acoustic pop – and had built himself a following since, as the crowd chanted his name. Still, the humble lad, despite being super nervous, hadn’t lost his unpretentious charm – playing two of his own Bob Marley and Ed Sheeran inspired songs – catchy as, with warm, pure vocals and impressive guitar strumming. Could Ricky win? After this performance: very probably.
From The Riverfront in Newport, South Wales, Gareth Leaman and his partner vocalist Binti, also stepped up hugely – adding a full band. From a duet, Gareth had reimagined his self-penned songs with drums, bass, second guitars and a jazz funk sound to his hip-hop soul that filled the Eden Project’s core. Music changed Gareth’s life – giving him direction as a teenager after getting involved with his local studio to becoming a teacher himself – and his passion, ability, and belief in songs inspiring change was obvious tonight.
Penultimately was the lovely Mutsa Gwazai who wowed everyone at the Stephen Lawrence Centre Mic Relay in Peckham, South London with her huge voice and emotional power. Looking incredibly glamourous in royal blue and big hair, joined onstage by two backing vocalists, Mutsa didn’t just sing Beyonce’s Halo – she performed from the bottom of her soul, filling the core with passion, emotion and a perfectly-pitched voice. If this complete darling non-diva doesn’t become massive one day, there is something seriously wrong with music.
Last, was an injection of punk to wake everyone before the Play Off came to a close, with the teenage energy of Derry’s Lost Avenue – winners of the Mic Relay event at the Nerve Centre in Londonderry-Derry, Northern Ireland. Shambolic but brilliant, the pair were the loudest act of the evening, beginning their set with a howl, throwing themselves across the stage and looking like they were absolutely loving it.
12 incredible acts: but only one winner. Or not? After being wowed by the UK’s young undiscovered music talent our three judges had a tough time choosing just one winner. So, after deliberations for half an hour, a decision was announced: for the Peace Mix Play Off 2012 there’d be two winners – our acoustic songwriters Georgie Rose and Ricky Fleming.
But our journey exploring music studios and meeting young acts isn’t over yet: this is the only beginning – as these studios are available for you to use now! So, if you’re being inspired the super talented MCs, bands, singers and songwriters we’ve met across the UK – who all started at their local studio – head to our tour page now and click on the map to see what’s available in your area.
Want to see why Georgie and Ricky won the Peace Mix Play Off? Come join the Peace Mix Presents closing party on 28 August at London’s Roundhouse to see them both play live, plus Tinchy Stryder and another soon to be announced act for just a fiver on the door!
Like this? Read more on the Peace Mix Play Off and the Eden Project:
- Blog: the Peace Mix Play Off comes to the Eden Project! (part 1) >>
- Blog: the Peace Mix Play Off comes to the Eden Project! (part 2) >>
- Gallery: check out pics from the Peace Mix Play Off with Tashon Tyler, Georgie Rose and more >>
- Gallery: check out pics from the Peace Mix Play Off with Ricky Fleming, Lost Avenue, Niya and co >>
- Celebrate peace, music and community at the Peace Mix Presents closing party >>