Aoraki artists are getting ready to rock as preparations continue for the annual South Canterbury Smokefreerockquest contest later this month. The Courier has profiled several bands of high school pupils from around South Canterbury, in this week and next week’s papers, ahead of the June 22 event at Mountainview High School. In the first of a two-part series, Greta Yeoman talks to some of the young performers.
A band from Opihi College is amped for Smokefreerockquest next week.
Pupils Olivia Andressend, Nathan Nolan, Jack Murray and Luke Smith (not the Luke Smith performing in fellow Opihi band The Begonias) make up four-piece band A.M.P.D.
Vocalist Jack described their style as “crust punk”, but suggested their new songs to be performed at the regional competition had more of a “grunge” sound.
Jack is the only one who has not performed in a rockquest before.
Drummer Luke was in “Pixies-inspired” trio S.W.I.M last year, alongside Jessica Marshall and Liam Pelvin.
Liam has written the songs Larry and The Punk Song for A.M.P.D but will not be performing at the competition.
A.M.P.D guitarist Olivia and bassist Nathan were both in pop act “electric mist” last year, Olivia as a guitarist/vocalist and Nathan on keyboards.
Odd names are plentiful when Smokefreerockquest comes to town, but one Opihi College act may take the cake in this year’s regional line-up.
Four-piece band Asparagoose will take the stage on June 22, in a debut performance in the event for three of its members.
Drummer Kyal Dickson (14), who was also behind the kit for pop band “electric mist” last year, will be joined by fellow pupils Elise Warnock (14), Bailee Bryce-Gillett (13) and Ryleigh Davis (13) for this year’s regional event.
Bailee said the band had ended up together after music teacher Russell Fleming asked if they wanted to be involved with Smokefreerockquest.
“Our teacher asked and [we] said yes.”
She described the act’s sound as “alternative-indie”.
Most of the band’s songs have been written by Ryleigh, who is one of two vocalists and guitarists in Asparagoose.
She is joined by Elise in the double duties on stage, while Kyal will return to the drum kit and Bailee will take up the bass.
However, despite Ryleigh’s songwriting talents for the band, its performance on June 22 will be her first time on stage.
“I’ve never performed in front of people before.”
A Temuka trio are hoping for first place at the Smokefreerockquest regionals, after their former band placed second last year.
Opihi College trio The Begonias is one of three bands from the school performing at the June 21 competition.
Luke Smith, Matthew Anso and Reef Brazendale have all performed at Smokefreerockquest previously.
While last year’s performance was as part of “punk-ish” band ALRM, former bassist Allicia Kelly, who performed last year, was no longer in the now-renamed band.
ALRM had placed second in the regional competition, behind Geraldine High School band Pseudo Sane.
Band frontman Reef also claimed the Mainz musicianship award and the full ALRM contingent won the Style Award. However, since the line-up, name and style change, Matthew had switched to bass-playing duties in The Begonias.
“Lead bass,” he joked.
Luke is the band’s drummer, while Reef (despite sporting a broken collarbone when The Courier visited the college recently) is on guitar and vocal duties.
The band planned to perform one song off their album, named Livin’ Like A Mushroom, at Smokefreerockquest, as well as another new composition.
Soloists and duos
More than a dozen solo/duos are registered to partake in the performance competition that is the Timaru Smokefreerockquest final on June 22.
Of the 13 entrants in the category, only one is from outside South Canterbury – Mount Hutt College’s LT Twins.
While bands often outbalance the number of solo or duo acts at the live music competition, the majority of Roncalli College’s entries this year are in this category.
Acts Carl Webber, April, Dream State, Nowhere, Neve Elizabeth and Allicia Kelly would be representing Roncalli at the regional competition, alongside Opihi College’s Megan Calder-Weavers and JEM, Timaru Boys’ High School’s Harry Delaney and Mountainview High School’s Framed.
Waimate High School also has two entrants in the solo/duo section – Rebekah Clark and DARA.
The regional competition will be held at Mountainview High School on June 22. Entrants are coming from high schools as far afield as Oamaru, Ashburton and Mt Hutt, as well as Geraldine, Waimate, Temuka and Timaru.
The annual songwriting/performance competition requires entrants to write and perform original songs.
Former entrants and winners who have gone on to have careers in the New Zealand music industry include Brooke Fraser, Opshop, Broods’ Georgia and Caleb Nott and Evermore.
Jesse Sheehan, who won in 2009, has gone on to join Neil Finn’s backing band and 2016 winner Alien Weaponry won best rock artist at the 2018 NZ Music Awards.