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Fire Fences hoping to catch light in Battle of the Bands competition...

A four-piece band from Cardiff who have been compared to the Arctic Monkeys are a step closer to a big breakthrough in the music industry, after being shortlisted as one of six acts to win Firestone’s prestigious Battle of the Bands grassroots competition.

Fire Fences, who were formed by the bandmates whilst at Bridgend Brynteg School in 2013, have beaten around 300 unsigned acts to become one of six shortlisted acts. The coveted trophy, more than £2,000 worth of Orange Amplification gear and studio time worth £1,500 are all now within reach.

Orange Amplification and returning partner Professional Music Technology (PMT) judged the entries and agreed on six shortlisted acts, with Fire Fences’ uplifting rock and acoustic sounds striking a chord.

The band, comprising Dylan Wictome (bass), Will Davies (lead guitar), Aaron Nicholas (vocals / guitar) and James Lee (drums) have already had a taste of the big time when invited to play a sold out show at the Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood. Bosses at the landmark club likened their performance to the Arctic Monkeys and the band are hoping to leave a similar impression on voters.

A public vote opens on November 13 which will then decide which three acts will then have the opportunity to perform at the Firestone Battle of the Bands final on December 14 at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute in Birmingham.

Singer Aaron, aged 21, said: “We have been knocking on the door for a little while now and playing non-stop across the UK. To win Battle of the Bands would be huge and would provide us with the platform that we’ve been looking for.

James, 22, said: “The dream is to do this full-time and it is a great feeling to know that we have beaten so many acts to get this far. We’d love to travel the world and make it big because we really love what we do.

“People who used to think of us as losers might change their opinion and want to listen to the music we play.”

All of Fire Fences study at Cardiff University and are proud of the city, having also played on the day of the Champions League final earlier in the year. “We were selected by Captial FM to play in Cardiff Bay on the day of the final. There were Real Madrid and Juventus fans all enjoying our stuff so that was a special day for us,” added Will Davies. “Hopefully there will be more days like that to come if we can win Firestone’s Battle of the Bands.”

Firestone’s Battle of the Bands was created to give unsigned acts a chance to shine, with its ‘Be Heard’ strapline created to give musicians a chance to do exactly that – and hopefully make their big industry breakthrough.

The competition will be opened out to an online public vote from November 13 to 23, with the top three acts going forward to play in the overall grand final.

Firestone’s brand manager Stuart Attfield said: “It has been a really uplifting experience to meet and listen to the shortlisted acts, all of whom have underlined why Firestone is so committed to music and promoting grass roots talent.

“There is a diverse mix of talent with different styles coming to the fore. Fire Fences are one of six strong acts and we wish them all the very best of luck as they aim to make the final.” For more information about Battle of the Bands and ways to vote, visit

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