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Smokefreerockquest 2018 Auckland regional finals results

Smokefreerockquest 2018 Auckland regional finals results

It was a huge weekend for aspiring Kiwi musicians as bands and solo duos played off in this year’s Smokefreerockquest Auckland regional finals.

Indie alt-rock band Barracuda Swim School from Green Bay High and Whangaparaoa College took first place in front of an excited crowd at the North Shore finals on Friday night at the Auckland Girls’ Grammar Dorothy Winstone Centre.

The band is made up four friends with spokesman Neo Lee on drums. Because of the hour-long drive between the Whangaparoa and Green Bay they vote on where to practise, but Neo says he’s outnumbered and “they’ve never come to my place”. Despite the distance, they’ve worked hard and Neo thought they had a chance at winning at the regional final.

“At the practice we sounded really good and when you hop on stage it all comes back to you,” said the 16-year-old. “By time we got to the second chorus I felt pretty confident.”

The band is made up of James McGurk on bass, Sam Wilcox-Brown on guitar, Neo Lee on Drums, and Michael Johnston also on guitar.

Second place in the band category went to indie rock band Husk from Glenfield College, Rototuna Junior High School, and Saint Kentigern Boys’ School. The band is made up of Paul Quizo on bass, Chris Webb on lead guitar and vocals, Zane McGregor on guitar, and Jeremy Stubbins on drums.

On Saturday night Auckland Central bands played off, with first place going to self-proclaimed “metal as heck” band Sivera from Lynfield College, Westlake Boys’ High School, and Auckland Grammar. Lead guitarist Matt Holden says this win has been a few years in the making, with all band-mates having entered at least twice before.

“Since entering last year we have been super motivated to get better as a band,” says the 17-year-old, “we come from different backgrounds, but we all wanted music with a catchy melody and brutal breakdowns. For us music is life, it’s second nature.”

The band is made up of Louie Campbell on vocals, Matt Sansome on bass, Tane Cullen on drums, Matt Holden on lead guitar lead, and Louis Simpson also on guitar.

Second place in the band category went to Indie rock band Bad Dog from Avondale College. The band is made up of front man Josh Parker playing guitar and vocals, Max Barret on drums, and William Elliot on bass. Josh Parker also took out the APRA lyric award on the night.

On Sunday the focus shifted to the 74 solo-duo entrants competing for Auckland’s eight places for national finals selection.

In the morning session the winner was Gretel Donnelly (stage name Gretel) from Rangitoto College, and second place went to Keith Porteous from Kaipara College.

In the afternoon first place went to Jessica Smith (stage name Jess) from Selwyn College, and in second place was Silika and Milly from Papatoetoe High School.

The top two bands from Auckland and North Shore, plus the top eight solo-duos will submit video footage to be selected as national finalists to play off on September 22, back at the Dorothy Winstone Centre. Still to come in Auckland is the Manukau final on Friday June 15; and the Smokefree Tangata Beats heats (June 16) and final (June 23) all at AGGS.

Smokefreerockquest Founder and director Glenn Common says there are more bands than ever before reaching the high standard required from national finalists.

“This means that real dedication is required to achieve the ‘stand out quality’ that the judges will be looking for,” he said. “They have to capture 15 minutes of their original material on video for selection as national finalists. It’s a process that demands creativity and musical ability, being able to work together as a group and having good organisational skills. What separates them out is perseverance – industry success seldom happens overnight.”

The full list of awards for North Shore is:
Band 1: Barracuda Swim School, Whangaparaoa College Green Bay High School
Band 2: Husk, Glenfield College, Rototuna Junior High School, & Saint Kentigern Boys School
Band 3: denon , Kaipara College
ZM People’s Choice: Goat , Waitakere College
Best Vocals: Taryn Wishart, denon Kaipara College
MAINZ Musicianship: Moo Plah Soe Kusay, fromIt’s Strange, Massey High School.
Best Song: Ultrasound Long Bay College Rangitoto College
Fatboy Style Award: Special Ed, Westlake Boys' High School
APRA Lyric Writers’ Award: Hannah Clausen, Equilibrium, Rangitoto College

The full list of awards for Auckland Central is:
Band 1: Silvera, Lynfield College, Westlake Boys High School, and Auckland Grammar
Band 2: Bad Dog, Avondale College
Band 3: Ugly Friday, Green Bay High School
ZM People’s Choice: The Wonder Cats, Mount Albert Grammar and Auckland Boys, Grammar
Best Vocals: Hanah Tayeb, Goldilocks, Western Springs College
MAINZ Musicianship: Hamish Brown, Minutes to Monday, Selwyn College
Best Song: Ragaire, Glendowie College
Fatboy Style Award: The Wonder Cats, Mount Albert Grammar and Auckland Boys Grammar
APRA Lyric Writers’ Award: Joshua Parker, Bad Dog, Avondale College

The top eight solo-duos for Auckland are:
Solo-Duo 1st place: Gretel, Rangitoto College
Solo-Duo 1st place: Jess, Selwyn College
Solo-Duo 2nd place: Keith Porteous, Kaipara College
Solo-Duo 2nd place: Silika and Milly, Papatoetoe High School
Solo-Duo 3rd place: Rosie and Troy, Kaipara College
Solo-Duo 3rd place: Nate Kruse, Rosehill College
Solo-Duo 4th place: Salima Sualah, Green Bay High School
Solo-Duo 4th place: Lineh Ula & Bruce Paulo, Manurewa High School
ZM People’s Choice: Emma and Grace, Kaipara College
ZM People’s Choice: Lily Atu, Waiheke High School
Best Vocals: Kelly Robertson, Birkenhead College
Best Vocals: Celene Miller, Selah, Alfriston College
MAINZ Musicianship: Jack England, Green Bay High School
MAINZ Musicianship: Jesslyn Woo, Epsom Girls Grammar
Best Song: Gretel, Rangitoto College
Best Song: Grace David, Diocesan School for Girls
APRA Lyric Writers’ Award: Seven Zen, Mahurangi College
APRA Lyric Writers’ Award: Saylor Bostic, Epsom Girls Grammar

The live events run from May 5 until July 6, and most regions will also be filmed for the hugely popular SFRQ webisodes (, fronted this year by NZ’s ‘First Bloke’ Clarke Gayford.

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and solo/duo winners that includes $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, $16,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package, a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends. There is also the Musicianship Award, the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Lyric Award, Best Song Award, Smokefree Vocals Award, Fatboy Style Award, and the ZM People’s Choice.

Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest over its 30-year history include Broods, Leroy Clampitt, Kimbra, Aaradhna, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Kids of 88, Die!Die!Die!, Joel Little, Tiny Ruins, Marlon Williams, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Chelsea Jade, Nadia Reid, Aldous Harding, Steriogram, Phoenix Foundation, Devilskin, The Black Seeds, Bic Runga, and The Naked and Famous. Smokefree Tangata Beats standout successes include Alien Weaponry, Strangely Arousing Nesian Mystik, the only New Zealand band to ever have ten singles all certified gold or platinum.


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