Despite the icy winds and miserable downpour, a reasonable crowd strolled into the Unibar for the Repechage round of the National Campus Band Competition.
The runners-up from the four previous rounds were scheduled but, with one pulling out, three short and sweet sets were more than enough to warm the winter chill and show the local talent-pool is very deep.
Heavy Set Dub were up first, the funk-reggae outfit even boasted a didgeridoo player. They started with an excellent cover of I Chase The Devil before venturing into a few original tracks. Sentimental had a nice Australian indie-reggae vibe, similar to Sticky Fingers, but they failed to utilise some of their best attributes, the singer’s voice was spot on but he didn’t sing nearly enough and the didge was hard to hear at times, meaning a lot of the set fell into the category of background music. Summertime was a little stronger lyrically and Middle East begins with an infectious Arabic riff and has a nice structure. The set was tight and they barely missed a beat, although on the originality and creativity-front they still fell short of the mark.
We Came For Dinosaurs clearly had the strongest turnout of fans and well-wishers, a huge cheer erupted for the three-piece as they graced the stage.
Georgia Broderick’s voice had a lovely grain, somewhere in between Hannah Reid of London Grammar and our own Missy Higgins, growing in volume and conviction as their folk tunes built on quirky needling guitar riffs into powerful chord driven ballads. Home was the standout original track, both lyrically and instrumentally adept. They closed with a cover of a cover, Hugo’s version of 99 Problems, the chorus coming from the much-loved Jay Z track. Georgia stepped away from the keyboard and demonstrated fervor with a few confident dance moves and the audience of around 100 were encouraged by the quality of the set and fittingly disappointed when it ended.
Lucha Libre started strong with a few power chords before bursting straight into their garage punk set. The youngsters provided the most upbeat and energetic stage presence of the night but still have a few things to tinker with in the garage. A few missed cues didn’t halt their flow, but a couple of schoolboy errors, such as the back-up vocalist looking at his bandmates and away from the microphone while singing, making his voice hard to hear, took a little away from the set. They certainly have potential and their songs are fuelled by an unadulterated sense of fun, but they have a little work to do if they are to take out the band comp in the future.
We Came For Dinosaurs took out the major prize, with no arguments from the other bands or the crowd. They were fittingly stoked with the decision, which scored them a spot in the final next week.
Guitarist for the winning band Jack Pawesy said he was surprised to take out the Repechage round: “I thought we actually stunk up the place a little bit in the first round but we got through on the wildcard and yeah really excited to get through tonight.”
Words: Cameron Warner