KU student band Jack Grace’s live performance secured them a spot in the quarterfinals of the University Music League on Tuesday night.
Three 22-year-old KU music technology students – Jack Grace, Will Franden, and Josh Davies – performed live against seven other acts in the University Music League (UML) at Proud in Camden on January 29, winning the audience’s vote for a place in the quarter-finals.
The band formed in Kingston less than four months ago with the performance at Proud being the budding band’s first in public. Of winning the crowd’s vote, Jack commented: “So happy to be through! But if you think that’s all we have to offer, boy, have we got a surprise for you all for the next round!”
Jack Grace was handpicked from hundreds of nationwide applicants to form the line-up for 32 competitors. Last night was the second of UML showcases. The remaining finalists will be whittled down to the final 16 throughout the remaining two showcases, followed by the grand finals in May.
“I was pretty stoked”
Encouraged to enter the competition by his university lecturer, the initial news of Jack’s selection for the UML competition took him by surprise: “I was pretty stoked. I entered and thought nothing would really happen.”
He continued, “I knew that there were so many brilliant bands applying from all over the country, so when I found out I was really surprised, to be honest.”
Joey Arnold Zapata, 23, the presenter of UML, enthused: “Jack Grace is absolutely brilliant. We’ve been blasting out “406” [their latest single] in the office. When we heard them, we knew they were definitely going to go through.”
A crowd of over 200 guests
Proud, a meticulously restored venue located in the 200-year-old Horse Hospital in the Camden Stables Market, played host to the diverse array of contemporary student musicians from 7:45PM until 1AM. In full swing, the main room brimmed with over 200 guests who cheered on student musical talent ranging from Latin-Indian fusion, to soulful hip-hop, to indie-blues rock.
Jack Grace took to the stage at 10PM. The band was greeted by an outbreak of cheers, many of which came from the crowd of KU students who attended to show their support. The entire set was imbued with electricity from beginning until end. Jack Grace opened their set with “Weeks, Months, Years”, an acoustic, ambient track featuring looped and layered vocal harmonies, the track’s signature hook. Jack continued to impress with his stunning vocal range and tonal clarity, performing with supreme verve. The finale featuring the gritty classic American rock-inspired track, “Self-destruction”, saw the room dissolve in fervid mayhem.
A chance to record an EP
“Their sound was really dynamic and beautiful. They were clearly very well-rehearsed and chose their tracks carefully,” commented 22-year-old guest Timea Kalmar, a project manager.
The prize for the winner of UML 2013 includes: recording an EP at the award-wining Metropolis Studios with one of their top producers, a three-month PR campaign, a professional photoshoot and video and a slot at KOKO in Camden.