It was a big weekend for youth music inh Auckland with two nights of Smokefreerockquest regional finals at the Mercury Theatre.
Alt pop rock three piece Young & Reckless from Sacred Heart College won on Friday night, with lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jack Larsen putting their success down to confidence on stage.
"We had done lots and lots of practice we went on stage not to compete but just to play our best," he says. "Our songs are quite meaningful and are about things like being true to yourself."
The other band members are Joshua Manuatu, lead guitar; Michael Anderson, bass and Jason Farr, drums. Young & Reckless also won the Skinny People's Choice, voted by text.
Second place went to Epsom Girls' Grammar three piece We are the Pirates, made up of Manuela Ovalle Herrera , acoustic and lead guitar; Violet Kennedy, vocals and percussion and Melissa Carnchan, acoustic guitar and backing vocals.
On Saturday night the winner was indie pop rock band The Teleprompters from St Peter's College, consisting of Hunter Scott on lead guitar, Daylin Alvares on rhythm guitar, Chris Marshall on bass and Daniel D'souza on drums.
Hunter says they didn't see their win coming at all: "There was so much good talent out there but we had practiced a lot and were tight - we just went out there and did our thing, got the crowd involved and hoped the people liked us."
Second place went to Vivid from Diocesan School for Girls, with band members Kathleen Williams on drums, Ash Parton lead vocals and guitar, Ellie McBurney on lead guitar and Alice Tilley on bass.
These four bands win musical gear from NZ Rockshops and go on to compete for one of eight national finalist spots in this year's Smokefreerockquest national final at Claudelands in Hamilton on 22 September.
Rockquest Promotions Founders and Directors Glenn Common and Pete Rainey said from here on the Auckland Central finalists would have to work hard and draw on their creativity to make the most of the opportunity Smokefreerockquest offered.
"In August judges will be selecting the eight finalists from DVDs of their own original music," Common said. "There are a range of skills they'll need to pull this together - creativity and musical ability are important, but they also learn to work together as a group and have to be well organised to produce the video footage that could be their next step towards Kiwi music success."
The eight national finalists will be selected from a pool made up of first and second place-getters from each of the 24 regional finals, and bands from Rockshop Second Chance, an opportunity for established bands who feel they didn't play at their best on the night.
At stake is a prize package that includes a NZ On Air new recording and music video grant worth over $10,000, a place on the NZ On Air Kiwi Hit Disc, musical gear to the value of $10,000 from NZ Rockshops, radio promotional support for a single, and video play on youth music channel FOUR. There is also the MAINZ Scholarship for outstanding musicianship, the APRA Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award, the Smokefree Women's Musicianship Award and the Skinny People's Choice, voted by text, with the opportunity to open at the SFRQ National final.
Other regional awards made over the weekend.
Third place winning musical gear from NZ Rockshops and their suppliers:
Friday: Descend, Auckland Grammar
Saturday: Academic Dress Hire, Westlake Boys' High
APRA Lyric Award:
Friday: Eliza Beca, from Argila, St Cuthberts' College
Saturday: Alex Johnston, from The King and his Friends, Auckland Grammar
Lowdown Best Song: Friday: Forest Shakes, Glendowie College
Saturday: The King and his Friends, Auckland Grammar
The Mainz Musicianship Award with the opportunity to be selected for the $4500 Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand Scholarship, announced at the national final:
Friday: Sam Montgomery, the guitarist from Descend, Auckland Grammar
Saturday: Gabriel Everett, the guitarist from Academic Dress Hire, Westlake Boys' High
Smokefree Award For Women's Musicianship:
Friday: Eden Roberts, Western Springs College Saturday: Amy Klitscher, the drummer from Your Grace, St Kentigern College
Skinny People's Choice voted by text:
Friday: We are the Pirates, Epsom Girls Grammar
Saturday: Drum and Keys, Auckland Grammar
Auckland finals still to come are Manukau, Fri 22 June at Telstra Pacific, start 7pm, tickets from Ticket Direct or door; and North Shore Sat June 23, Bruce Mason Centre, start 7pm, tickets from Ticket Master or door.
To find out more about Smokefreerockquest 2012, visit the official website sfrq.co.nz.
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