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Smokefreerockquest 2018 Southland final results

Methylene Blues

The Methylene Blues from Menzies College in Wyndham took out first place at this year’s Southland regional Smokefreerockquest final at Centrestage in Invercargill on Friday night.

Lead guitarist Tane Carney describes their sound as ‘pop bluesy-rock’ and says their songs are about their own generation, about being a teenager and growing up.

“Music is a big part of our life at Menzies College and that gave us a sense of experience on stage,” he said. “We move around as much as we can… we go crazy, and our songs were strong in their dynamics and really intense.”

The full line up of the band is Tane Carney, Ahliyah Paderanga, Ellena Mae Alanquihan, Shaz Harvey. The Methylene Blues also won the Best Song Award.

Second place in the band category went to rock band The Subantarctic from James Hargest College, whose members are Tom Stewart, Declan Cruickshank, Finn Cruickshank and Jack McKenzie.

The solo-duo winner for Southland was pianist and vocalist Gabriel Lal from Verdon College who also won the Smokefree Best Vocals Award with his ballad-style song.

Second place went to singer-guitarist Sam Cullen, also from Verdon College, who made the most of the electronic assistance allowed this year.

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

The Smokefree Tangata Beats Award went to Mia & Destiny from Verdon College. Destiny Naunau (vocals and keyboard) and Mia Henry (vocals and guitar) impressed the judges with their use of Maori and Pacifica elements in a contemporary musical setting, and now go into the selection process for the national finals of Smokefree Tangata Beats.

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, preceded by the Smokefree Tangata Beats national final on Friday September 21.

The full list of awards for Southland is:

Band 1: The Methylene Blues, Menzies College

Band 2: The Subantarctic, James Hargest College

Band 3: Oddball, Southland Boys' High School

Solo/Duo 1: Gabriel Lal, Verdon College

Solo/Duo 2: Sam Cullen, Verdon College.

Smokefree Tangata Beats Award: Mia & Destiny, Verdon College

ZM People’s Choice: Quinto, Southland Girls' High School

Smokefree Best Vocals: Gabriel Lal,Verdon College

MAINZ Musicianship: Ryan Isaacs, Verdon College

Best Song: The Methylene Blues, Menzies College

Fatboy Style Award: Lexxii's Shed, Central Southland College

APRA Lyric Writers’ Award: Quinto, Southland Girls' High School

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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