One of our favourite days of the year here at Newcastle Live is our annual trip the Hunter School Of Performing Arts for their Bandwidth school band competition. It’s a chance to give back to the music community and for us to check out some new talent that will eventually take hold of our local industry.
For us, there are usally one of two bands that really stand out, but this year was different. More than half the bands that played could easily slot onto local bills right now, and we were stoked to see so much talent on stage.
We must send a big congratulations to CHOP, the winning band, but also to everyone who played on the day and to their teachers who are obviously taking their job of moulding the next generation of Newcastle music very seriously.
Below you’ll find videos of each performance, recorded and edited by HSPA students and a little run down from us on each of the band’s performances.
Chop took out the major prize for Bandwidth 2019 and for good reason. We haven’t seen a more realised act at a band comp for many years, and especially not out of high school. This duo is doing things with sound that seasoned professionals are either too nervous to try, or just don’t have the chops. See what we did there?
Expect to see this band popping up on bills all around town. You can keep up to date via their Instagram account – https://www.instagram.com/chop_band/
On any normal day, HSPA’s Boycott would have easily been leaps and bounds above the competition. From their well crafted original pop to their skilful harmonies, this “femme punk four-piece” is the real deal and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next.
Keep your eye on Boycott by following them on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/boycott.band/
As above, Ellipsis would easily be competitive in any band comp let alone a highschool competition. The musicianship is evident and their understanding of how to building tension through dynamics must be commended. We reckon they could open for a number of acts at Lizotte’s in 2020, so keep your eyes on the gig guide.
Anyone who’s played in a five-piece band will tell you it can be difficult at times to keep things together, and the kids from Grovetown did a great job at doing just that. There was great individual musicianship during the performance too as the group crossed a number of different genres.
It’s always tough to kick things off at a band comp, but Syncopation took it all in their stride. There’s no doubting the individual musicianship from each player and the response Syncopation received from the enthusiastic audience. We’ve do doubt you’ll be seeing these kids turn up in a bunch of different acts over the next few years.
Warner’s Bay High School have a great music program and it’s evident here with a great performance from Midnight Drive. They pulled out a set of original songs with lead vocalist Shirley really settling into the performance by the end of their slot.
Belmont High School’s Sly took to the stage with a quintessential number any rock trio has jammed on at some point. While there were moments that needed some work during their set, there were also times that the three-piece has it right in the pocket, with their cover of The Screaming Jet’s C’mon an obvious highlight.
It was a confident set from Warners Bay High School’s Nazeth who ripped through some absolute punk including some original tunes. Frontman Austyn has heaps of charisma and an aggressive guitar style we had to love.
A well-crafted vocal leads the way here with Swansea High School’s The Removalist. Busting out a set of 100% original material it’s easy to see these songs have been worked on lovingly and realised through a lot of practice. Some great guitar sounds and performances must also be commended here and we loved the feel of the band’s second original. There’s no doubt this band will also be popping up on bills around town, and we encourage you to check them out.
Lilly is confident in the role of lead vocalist from the get-go as Synergy head into their set of rock goodness. Their final song, an original, is full of hooks and shows an understanding of the genera beyond their years. Synergy also provides everything you’re looking for from a rock band and we expect to see them in one form or another over the years providing the soundtrack for rooms of sweaty bodies with rock horns in the air.