THE ROADRUNNERS, IVORY, THE WITS AND DISTILLATION MAKE THE FINAL FOUR

Thursday 22nd February and Northern Exposure are invited along to B12 Entertainment‘s grand finale BREAKTHROUGH event at Glasgow’s Classic Grand. A talent contest -without the emphasis on ‘contest’ – aims to showcase some of Scotland’s best emerging talent through a process of elimination. With a £1000 band prize up for grabs, only one budding artist will be awarded the incredible cash tonight. Between the audience vote and ‘extra credit’ judges vote, there’s a real building pressure around getting this right.

Already battling their way through the semi-finals, this evening’s line up are The Roadrunners, Ivory, The Wits and Distillation.

THE ROADRUNNERS

First up to convince the room are The Roadrunners. An Indie-pop quartet, the band step on stage to a huge encouraging roar from the anticipating crowd.

In their own words; ‘The Roadrunners, hailing from the vibrant music scene of Scotland, play a blend of genres like rock, pop and indie. Formed by high school friends, their synergy translated into a unique sound that resonates in their music with infectious melodies and introspective lyrics.’

Mixing up their brief 15 minute set, The Roadrunners played a 50/50 blend of original songs and covers. Covering Paramore’s ‘Still Into You‘ and the Americana classic ‘Life Is A Highway‘, The Roadrunners still managed to project a sense of identity within their performance. The four high school friends; Heather (vocals, guitar), Noah (bass), Maison (guitar) and Gavin (drums) blend well together. And while they are still evidently in their infancy, they show massive potential. Their two unreleased tracks ‘4 seasons’ and ‘devil in gods clothing’ are both really solid crowd pleasers with the indie pop quartet having – by far – the strongest crowd response of the evening. Whether or not that was down to who put on the biggest bus, it did created a much needed buzz across the room. A seriously strong opener which leaves the other three band finalists a lot to live up to.

IVORY

A quick change-over and the next band up are Ivory. Already generating a bit of a buzz around the room thanks to the bands smart attire, one person tells me they expect big things from this next act. No sooner than this is said, sheer noise fills the stage and the crowd are back on the floor.

Cracking it up a few notches from their predecessors, Ivory are a flashing force. Vocalist Iona Jess is a powerhouse of a young woman. An incredible vocal range with classic rock energy, the band are equally as skilled in their trade. Lead guitarists Aaron and Finn are shredding their way through the bands set which includes some massively ambitious covers such as Van Halen’s ‘Hot For Teacher’, Motley Crue’s ‘Kickstart My Heart’ and the riskiest attempt of all ‘Welcome to The Jungle’ by Guns n Roses. But they pull it off.

Encouraging the crowd to form a pit, the beating heart and rhythm completes the bands dynamic with Sylvian (drums) and Luke (bass) respectively keeping the band tight. Showcasing their own early efforts of ‘Luddite‘ before closing the set with ‘Ringleader‘, Ivory are a creatively talented group of artists who if they stick with this momentum they could well penetrate the Glasgow underground scene.

THE WITS

Comprising Sean (vocals), Seán (guitar), Gabriel (guitars) Jude (bass) and on Drums, The Wits m formed in August 2021. After a string of gigs throughout their native Inverclyde & beyond, the band released their debut single ‘Memory‘ in June of 2022.

Boasting sold out shows from Edinburgh to Glasgow including a sold-out King Tuts headline, The Wits have added support slots to their credentials with some of Scotland’s biggest emerging artists such as SLIX, The Big Day and Gallus. Taking influence from bands like Fontaines D.C. to Echo & the Bunnymen with the exuberant pop-rock maximalism of Declan McKenna thrown in for good measure, their style is conveyed in recent single “Perception” (produced by Ryan Hunter of The Big Day and Chris Marshall) which represents an ability to merge pop hooks with industrial noise and atmosphere.’

Third on stage this evening leaves The Wits at an unintentional disadvantage. Whilst their hometown crew are evidently in attendance, their set falls a little flat with the crowd. I personally seen this young band over a year ago on a ‘This Feeling’ band night at Glasgow’s Broadcast and they owned the room. Seriously talented group of guys who are probably in a superior league to their competitors tonight, however their fight is more subdued. Announcing their new single ‘Second Thought‘ would be released at midnight, The Wits power through a polished set, which – and correct me if I am wrong – was four original tracks. A hot name amongst the local scene, The Wits are set to get bigger than their fabulous hair.

DISTILLATION

Final act of tonight’s competition are the fresh faced Distillation. Looking like they just got picked up from school, these guys sound much more polished than expected for their stature. Leading in with 2023’s ‘Out Of Luck‘ before treating the crowd to a Motley Crue style Backstreet Boys cover of ‘I Want It That Way‘. Admittedly I don’t think I have ever witnessed an improv mosh pit to Backstreet Boys before and I don’t think they had either. Regardless, Distillation lapped it up and projected themselves well to the waiting crowd.

‘Formed in their high school music class in a small town 30 miles outside Glasgow, Distillation have already released 2 singles; ‘Without This’ and ‘Out Of Luck‘. With new releases in the works, they have headlined iconic Glasgow venues such as The Garage (Attic) and The Classic Grand. Taking inspiration from a wide range of bands such as Biffy Clyro and The Red Hot Chili Peppers to Motley Crue and Iron Maiden; Distillation bring a blend of all these bands in their music and enthusiastic live shows.

Cameron (vocals,guitar), Arran (lead guitar), Ross (drums) and Luke (bass) have all the right attitude of an up and coming rock band. Given time to develop their sound and find their unique identity, these guys will flourish.

AND THE WINNER IS….

Time to make that decision and personally that was an easy one. But it wasn’t down to just me, and the added weight of the audience vote was heavy in favour of tonight’s opener The Roadrunners.

The reaction is the room is heartwarming. There’s real celebration, not just from the band themselves, but from the friends and family who have turned out in mass to support The Roadrunners this evening. An incredibly special moment for this rising band given them not only the confidence boost but the cash prize. Being in a band and being a musician is, more often than not, a constant money pit where often you end up out of pocket to play. We can’t wait to see what this opportunity will lead the band towards – Congratulations The Roadrunners!!

Good news from organisers B12 Entertainment who have announced that Breakthrough will return to Glasgow’s Classic Grand this May. Applicants are encouraged to get in touch and apply to take part by emailing the B12 Entertainment team on [email protected]