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Smokefreerockquest 2018 Central Otago final results

Murphy's Law

Five-piece indie-rock band Murphy's Law from Wakatipu High School took out first place at this year’s Central Otago Smokefreerockquest regional final at the Lake Wanaka Centre on Saturday night.

The band take its name from the catchphrase used by the boss at a golf course where bass player Alfie Parvin used to work. It was Murphy’s Law’s second year in Smokefreerockquest and lead guitarist Tyrone Henderson said this made them feel more driven and confident, although they were still surprised to win.

“I thought he (MC Dan Kendrick) has mis-spoken – there were such a lot of really amazing entrants we didn’t think we had a chance,” he said. “We’ve been experimenting more with our songs and trying out new things…it was a risk that paid off.”

The full line up of Murphy’s Law is Tyrone Henderson (vocals, guitar), Eric Sebastian (drums), Gareth Harcombe (guitar), San Chan (keyboard), Alfie Parvin (bass).

Second place in the band category went to three-piece rock band Haven, also from Wakatipu High School, whose members are Jack Wilson (guitar), Ryan Connaghan (vocals, bass) Harrison Maguire (drums).

The solo-duo winner for Central Otago was Power of the Pen from Cromwell College. The members of the RnB-soul duo are vocalist Siobhan Cruthers on guitar and Cameron Miller on keyboard. They lived up to their name with an impressive folk ballad. Second place went to singer and keyboard player Greta Balfour from Wakatipu High School.

These four acts win musical gear from associate sponsors NZ Rockshops, and have the opportunity to gain selection for the national final in September.

Third placed band Better than Nothing from Mt Aspiring College also won the ZM People’s Choice, and their guitarist Clarke West won the MAINZ Musicianship Award.

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 top regional bands and solo/duos submit footage for selection as finalists to play off at the Smokefreerockquest national final on Saturday September 22 at the Dorothy Winstone Centre in Auckland.

The full list of awards for Central Otago is:

Band 1: Murphy's Law, Wakatipu High School

Band 2: Haven, Wakatipu High School

Band 3: Better than Nothing, Mt Aspiring College

Solo/Duo 1: Power of the Pen Cromwell College

Solo/Duo 2: Greta Balfour, Wakatipu High School

APRA Lyric Writer’s Award, Jessie McKenzie from, Iridescence, Mt Aspiring College

ZM People’s Choice: Better than Nothing, Mt Aspiring College

Smokefree Best Vocals: Cheery Moon, Wakatipu High School

MAINZ Musicianship: Clarke West, guitarist from Better than Nothing, Mt Aspiring College

Best Song: Cheery Moon, Wakatipu High School

Fatboy Style Award: Not Yet Rated, Mt Aspiring College

APRA Lyric Writers’ Award: Jessie Mackenzie from Mount Aspiring College.

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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