Am­a­teur mu­si­cians hope to strike a chord

Macclesfield Express - - TVWEEK -

Some peo­ple may have ini­tially been sur­prised to see UK’s Best Part-Time Band (Satur­day, BBC2, 10pm) crop up on BBC4, mainly be­cause it sounded more like a prime­time, Satur­day night BBC1 sort of show. But then, as host Rhod Gil­bert has been keen to point out, this has been no or­di­nary tal­ent search. He ex­plains:“These are peo­ple who write their own mu­sic, they’re out there gig­ging. It’s not a karaoke show try­ing to find some­thing that fits some pre­con­ceived idea, some­one that will slot into a pre-ar­ranged com­mer­cial plan. There’s no prize, no record­ing con­tract, no Christ­mas num­ber one, noth­ing.” In fact, it seems the co­me­dian is re­luc­tant to even think of it as a con­test.“Es­sen­tially, it’s a doc­u­men­tary ex­plor­ing the amaz­ing pas­sion, hard work and di­ver­sity of part-time bands across the UK. I headed out on a road trip with leg­ends of the mu­sic in­dus­try to see what we could find. “And what we found was thou­sands of in­cred­i­bly tal­ented peo­ple do­ing mu­sic in their spare time - just for the love of it. Some of them might be kids who got to­gether in school and re­hearse on the week­end, and oth­ers might be fam­ily bands that have been go­ing for 50-odd years and may have flirted with suc­cess and fame, mu­sic la­bels and charts, and are still go­ing af­ter all this time. “It’s a com­pe­ti­tion, but ac­tu­ally the com­pe­ti­tion el­e­ment isn’t the main driver of the se­ries.” How­ever, it is at the heart of this fi­nale, which has made the leap to BBC2 es­pe­cially for the oc­ca­sion. If you missed the ear­lier heats, Midge Ure hit the road with Rhod to se­lect two acts from North­ern Ire­land, Scot­land and Wales, while for­mer New Order bassist Peter Hook was re­spon­si­ble for find­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives for north­ern Eng­land and Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B did the honours for the south. Now the search reaches its con­clu­sion as the six fi­nal­ists per­form in a ‘bat­tle of the bands’ con­cert at the Ritz in Manch­ester. Each act will per­form an orig­i­nal tune and a cover song, and mem­bers of the au­di­ence will then vote to de­ter­mine which of them should be named Bri­tain’s Best Part-Time Band. Rhod admits he’s re­lieved the de­ci­sion isn’t up to him.“Even though we tried to play down the com­pet­i­tive el­e­ment, it was a com­pe­ti­tion. And that did give it a bit of an edge. The bands clearly were ex­cited by that idea and did get a bit com­pet­i­tive. It was heart­break­ing to see some of them go out. I got a bit too emo­tion­ally in­vested in them to be hon­est.”

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