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Giving it 100%

03 Jul 2018

Turning up the heat on a cold winter’s night, 12 bands slugged it out, giving it their all at the Smokefree Rockquest Canterbury final at the Foundry on Friday 29 June. There could only be one winner and, this year, it was College band The Subs.
“It was awesome, but I was in disbelief,” says drummer Matias Biraben-Clough. “I keep remembering when they called our names out. It makes me so happy.”
The Subs – Year 12 students Max Toth on keyboard, Zac Matson on bass guitar and Matias on drums, and Year 13 students Humphrey Bullen on lead guitar and Jono Stewart on rhythm guitar and vocals – formed when College introduced its contemporary music programme. They are first to admit they haven’t had much performance experience, but they definitely have passion, focusing on honing their skills and rehearsing most days in the lead-up to the competition.
“We didn’t get through last year, but I went and watched and thought it was something I wanted to do. It looked fantastic,” says Jono. “We all realised it was something we wanted to be good at. We wanted to smash it!”

They all agree it is an amazing experience being up there, having the opportunity to perform. “The atmosphere was incredible. The crowd enjoyed it. Afterwards, coming off stage, I was fizzing,” says Jono.

Rock band tutor Nolan Hungerford says he had a feeling The Subs would do well, although acknowledges everything depended on their performance on the night. “Jono’s an amazing, emotional singer and very good at songwriting. He’s had a breakthrough recently and is now 100% committed to the vocals, and it’s made all the difference. They blew everyone away at the heats, putting the right amount of passion and emotion into their performance, they really captured the audience and were able to deliver again at the finals.”

The boys are grateful for the support they receive at College through the rock programme, from Nolan and tutor Aasha Mallard of Christchurch band Nomad, and their families. They now have three weeks to submit their video entry to be considered for the national final.
In addition to The Subs success, Year 12 student Liam Allan’s band Household – a mixed St Margaret’s College, Christchurch Girls’ High School, College and Shirley Boys’ High School group – came third, and Run77 won the award for best song. As they made it to last year’s national final, Run77 are automatically eligible to make a video submission. The Top30 will be announced on Friday 27 July.

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