So the premise: get unsigned acts, the undiscovered and under the radar talent to bigger audiences. The Beeb do the filtering and venues get the benefit of seeing something different to what PR types and labels might be promoting. Great! We’re in the Ruby Lounge and expecting to do the ‘we’re on the list’ spiel it’s a quick nod and mention tonight’s for free. Sounds good eh for all this new talent to be accessed by as many punters who love a freebie. We’re part way through The Pretty Shapes’ set and numbers are a bit thin on the ground. The ones that are going for it are college and uni girls. They’re loving TPS lead singer who has some Jessie J attitude and a modest amount of her vocal dexterity… you know what I mean riffy, staccatoey delivery with the lyrics. She’s good. They’re a young 4 piece and most focus goes to the lead singer with the 3 boys holding on behind. There are solid songs here, ‘Sober Love’ is a cracker.

We’re getting busier as Ruby Ann Paterson takes to the stage. She takes hold of the mic with the confidence of a seasoned performer. It’s her voice that’s drawing the gathering numbers in. Ruby’s got something of a Corine Bailey Rae vibe going on. She sings and chats with us as though she’s been doing it for many years. She knows she’s good too. No gimmicks, fuss or faff with appearance, she’s got the talent without distractions. On a couple of songs she looks a little lonely on stage but the rest of her cohorts and producer soon follow to join in. Of all the acts tonight (wait ’til you here about the next one) this group look the most connected on stage. Funky, soulful and together, we’re at a promising halfway point so far.

What happens next is not fully describable in type. The next band break way beyond ‘the average’ experience of a new music showcase. In the main we amble along to a fairly pleasant array of bands in the small hope we could say “we saw ’em before they got huge!” Caulbearers get to the front (all 8 of them) and right now I’m thinking “What are this lot about?” They’re an odd mixture of indie bearded boys on guitar, a sax player, a pork pie hatted cellist and one powerhouse mama singer throwing her shapes. Age wise they’re a few years above the average Introducing act.

Suddenly the mood in the lounge takes a serious turn and for a while I’m looking at my gig mate wondering what the heck is going on? It’s a cornucopia of individual musical talent but as a group they don’t knit together or share a sense of fun. The singer is acting way beyond the scope of this venue. Shouts of “Come on Manchester!” feel OTT to a basement crowd of 150 here tonight. I’m at a loss trying to remember the other band members’ performances because they’re hugely overshadowed by an almost Zionist, zealous performer of one. About halfway through I realise there’s another bloke singing too. He looks like he’s given up competing with her a while ago, as do some of the boys at the back.

The front of the crowd are loving the shouts and full on zumba moves. Getting a step closer to the audience action there’s extreme body stench going on, a bald man with braces talking pics and another who uses my head to get a steadier camera shot. This is actually happening to me. It’s really weird. Caulbearers are longing for a bigger stage and BBC Introducing aren’t inviting a discerning crowd in. Surely a ticketed night would be a more honest gauge of the talent. I can’t find fault with any bum notes or songs that aren’t interestingly written. It’s the delivery that I’m at odds with. Caulbearers need appreciation from a paying crowd to pitch their level of performance attitude. Before that they could do with working out how they tick together as a band of brothers and sista.

I'm an indie kid at heart, with a soft spot for thoughtful electronica and a guilty love of pure pop. A break up in the early noughties with a foppish haired 'all about the guitars' boy caused my musical path to diverge out towards Mr Scruff, Ministry of Sound and dance pleasures beyond. Highlights from this year's musical calendar include Sounds From the Other City, Badly Drawn Boy at the Ten album launch, Bjork at MI and when Elbow came home.I design and illustrate so I'm continually perfecting the ultimate work soundtrack to get ideas going: daytime People I'd still like to see: Imogen Heap, Jason Mraz, Brett Anderson and Ghostpoet.Follow me on Twiiter - http://twitter.com/#!/rachaelkearney