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Students to perform at the O2 Arena


The Stacks are through to the grand finals of Live and Unsigned, the UK’s biggest competition aimed at unsigned bands, after beating off tough competition from over 10,000 hopefuls.

The band includes Second Year BA (Hons) Popular Music student Ben Monaghan, 19, from Nuneaton, on electric guitar and backing vocals and 20-year-old James Dudley, from Bedworth on drums and percussion, who is in his first year of the same course.

They describe their music as acoustic/indie/rock and their influences include the lyrics of Jamie T, the aggression of the Arctic Monkeys, the bluesy guitar lines of Stevie Ray Vaughan, with the acoustic twist of Kings of Leon and The Coral.

As well as performing at the O2 Arena in front of a sell-out audience, The Stacks are in with a chance of winning a recording contract.

Senior Lecturer in Popular Music, Steve Cooper, said: "What a fantastic achievement for the band. Performing at the O2 in London will be a great thrill and provide valuable experience of performing at one the premier venues in Europe."

Ben Monaghan, from The Stacks, said: “This summer has been great for us, we’re really excited about the O2 gig, whatever the outcome, we’ve got a mini tour in Glasgow too at the end of August; we can’t wait to play.”

After the initial audition The Stacks performed at a regional final to over 500 people at Leamington Spa's 'Royal Spa centre' to get them through to the Area Finals at the Bedford Corn Exchange. Only nine acts out of 45 went through to the O2 stage of the competition from the Midlands.

The final of Live and Unsigned will take place at the O2 on Saturday, 10 July 2010.

The students are from the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, based at the University’s Walsall Campus.

The band is currently working in a music studio on original music and performing shows around the Midlands.

For more information about The Stacks, visit

For further details about Live and Unsigned, go to


Picture:  The Stacks, from left to right, Ben Monaghan, Dan Smith, James Dudley and Jimmy Russell.

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