A Basingstoke-based band are one step away from performing at the O2 Arena after triumphing on Sunday.
Four-piece rockers FreeSpirit went head-to-head with a dozen other bands at Reading’s Sub89 club in the regional finals of Live and Unsigned.
Despite being forced to rejig their set hours before getting on stage, the aspiring stars were still voted as the judges’ favourite.
Earlier this year, the band had won over judges at the live auditions in Portsmouth.
In total eight out of the 20 hopefuls were put through to the next round.
The win puts them into the competition area finals where victory would see them perform in front of thousands on the London stage.
The band consists of Cranbourne-based school friends Joshua Antonini, 24, on vocals, Lucas Mariana, 22 on bass, brother Carlo, 26, on guitar, and 20-year-old Barnaby Sayce on drums. On the night the band mixed Adele’s hit Rolling In The Deep with one of their originals, called Alma Road.
Speaking to the Basingstoke Observer, Joshua said he was thrilled to have gone through.
“On the night we had three minutes in which to do two songs, which is insane, but we didn’t know that until the day before so we had 15 minutes in which to try and get a set together,” said the former Basingstoke College of Technology student.
“We had very little time to prepare, but that for us is the buzz, that on the spot feeling. It’s a good challenge.”
Joshua said the band class themselves as soul rock and draw influences from groups such as Audioslave, and Incubus.
FreeSpirit, who have been together for five years after the members studied together at BCOT, said they hope the competition will act as a launch pad to stardom.
Joshua who works at the Holiday Inn on Grove Road, said the band were recording their debut album, and are bidding for a slot in the Europe-wide music festival Surface.
“We have been through our learning curve,” said Joshua. “We’ve done our open mic nights, and learnt to take negative reaction as a positive thing.
“That’s made us stronger as a band, we’ve done our own things and realised that together we are a good unit.”
FreeSpirit will compete in the Southern England area final at the Portsmouth Guildhall on May 26.