Sharon Hodgson MP nominates local band for rock the house competition

Local north east band Moonrunners have a shot at performing in the House of Commons and scooping thousands of pounds of musical equipment after winning a local heat in a major band contest.

Moonrunners beat off fierce competition from three other local acts that regularly use a rehearsal space in the Washington Arts Centre and will now represent the area in the MP-founded Rock the House band competition later this year.

The four-piece, were up against rap combo Star Siblingz, funk rock outfit Dissident and indie band Bleachbird, and got the nod from Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson who was asked to select the best up coming band in the area by the competition founder, Tory MP Mike Weatherley.

Moonrunners will now go forward to compete with another 13 acts from 14 rehearsal spaces around the country that were founded nearly three years ago by the music industry organisation UK Music to help disadvantaged kids.

The winner of that heat, judged on March 27 by UK Music boss Jo Dipple and other music business luminaries, will compete against the best unsigned British artists from around the country at the Westminster live music competition in June. 

Hodgson said Moonrunners had won student band of the year last year and it was “easy to see why”.  The MP added, “For me they stood out from the rest because of the well crafted songs.  I will be wishing them all the best and hoping they follow in the long line of Sunderland’s musical success stories.”

Duncan Allan, performance and exhibitions technician at the Arts Centre Washington, has been working closely with Moonrunners and the three other bands he put forward for Hodgson to judge. 

And he wasn’t surprised when the MP opted for the Jordan Deeham-led outfit - the other members are Nathan Hughes, guitar and backing vocals, Owen Morgan on bass and John Timney, drums -  because he said they are a “very focused band” who have already supported Bow Wow Wow and Shaun Ryder.

Allan added, “They are ready to take the band further.  I think they stand a good chance, they are brimming with confidence, are hard workers and spend as much time playing.  They also have a very open, accessible and radio friendly sound.”

He said it also didn’t hurt that Moonrunners lead singer Deeham was female.  “It’s good to have a woman fronting a band, so many around here are white, working class males so it’s nice to Jordan there.”

This year Rock the House, founded by Weatherley to encourage his MP colleagues in Westminster to copyright, piracy and other issues impacting the music industry, features six winner categories and a vast array of prizes including festival slots, Gibson  guitars, a masterclass in sound and the opportunity to release a single on the legendary Cherry Red Records.

The awards ceremony takes place at the House of Commons on June 26 in front of music label executives, celebrities and press.

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