Bleech on the Road to V

WANSTEAD trio Bleech hope to scoop a live spot at V Festival in August, and have already supported The Charlatans along the way, writes MATT TROLLOPE. Two sets are up for grabs at the festival in Chelmsford at the end of August, as part of the Road To V c

WANSTEAD trio Bleech hope to scoop a live spot at V Festival in August, and have already supported The Charlatans along the way, writes MATT TROLLOPE.

Two sets are up for grabs at the festival in Chelmsford at the end of August, as part of the Road To V competition.

The Charlatans, and Just Jack were invited to pick three finalists each. Now it is down to which of the six bands gets the most public votes.

We first featured Bleech, all former Wanstead High School pupils, in April following the release of their cracking debut single, Is It True That Boys Don't Cry, tipping them for the top and making poor jokes about them "cleaning up".


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After chatting to singer-guitarist Jen O'Neill, 23, then, this time we caught up with younger sister and bass player, Katherine, 18.

She said: "Supporting The Charlatans at The Escape in Brighton in May was great. We were one of five bands playing that night, and we were one of two chosen by The Charlatans to go through to the Road to V final. The others were chosen by Just Jack the night after, when he headlined the same venue."

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Under the experienced guidance of manager Andy Ross - the man who discovered Blur - they have played more than 100 gigs, and Katherine adds: "I think Andy got us 99 per cent of those. He's worked really hard, but we've got a live agent now so that will take the pressure of him and let him concentrate on managing."

Matt Bick, 19, completes the trio, and Katherine points out: "It can be quite lively having two sisters involved in a band. We have our moments, but usually, because we are sisters, the rows are over quickly enough."

But she jokes: "Matt can be quite moody at times, so it's like having a teenager brother with us a lot of the time anyway."

As part of the Road To V competition, Bleech got to meet The Charlatans again during an NME Radio appearance, and were given a mock-up of an NME magazine front page with them on the front.

One day, though, they could be splashed across the front for real, given their great progress over the past six months, and the experienced people around them.

Katherine and Jennifer's dad, Brendon O'Neill is the drummer in celebrated blues band Nine Below Zero, so the girls have lived around the business all their lives.

Formerly known as Slummin' Angels, they supported Pete Doherty at Rhythm Factory in Whitechapel last year, and before that came to the attention of Radio One veteran Steve Lamacq.

Now everything seems to be going in the right direction and new single, The Worthing Song, which they are releasing on their own label, is out soon.

But it surely won't be long before an established label picks them up. And there will be enough A & R men present at V, if they manage to scoop one of those coveted live spots on the BBC4 stage.

But just how is Katherine, not long left school and still waiting for her art, drama and photography A-level results, dealing with the band's success?

She explains: "It may sound like a cliche, but we really are just taking it gradually, as it comes, and enjoying every moment."

And there should be a lot more moments to enjoy. Hopefully starting with a spot at V. To vote for Bleech go to http://roadtov.com/finalists. Voting closes on July 19.

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