The four-piece from Francis Douglas Memorial College won over the judges and a packed house with their textured guitar melodies and the impressive work of lead guitarist Ryuki Hon, 14, whose playing replaced vocals.
Hon and fellow band members Luke Burn, 16, drums, Caleb Brbich, 16, bass, and Fraser Walker, 17, rhythm guitarist, said they were surprised at their win.
“We’re really stoked and proud that we did so well without a vocalist as that’s a part of the main points. I think we’re the only band to get through who were instrumental,” Walker said.
Walker described the band’s sound as “djent” which is a spin- off from progressive metal and he hoped people would find their style new and interesting.
“We plan to do gigs with bands that we’ve met and also record some tracks for a good quality video to send in to the national finals.”
Second place went to metal band Wake of Destruction, made up of New Plymouth Boys’ High School and Hawera High School students Oscar Alty, vocals, Calvin Tait, lead guitar, Sherwood Matheson, guitar and bass, Sam Evans, drums, and Paul Tarrant, guitar and bass.
Noriac and Wake of Destruction each won prizes of musical equipment and qualified to compete for one of eight spots at this year’s Smokefreerockquest national finals.
Third place went to Astral Lake, from Spotswood College and Coastal Taranaki School.
Rockquest Promotions founders and directors Glenn Common and Pete Rainey said the Taranaki finalists would have to work hard and draw on their creativity to make the most of the opportunity Smokefreerockquest offered.
“In August judges will be selecting the eight finalists from DVDs of their own original music,” Mr Common said.
“There are a range of skills they’ll need to pull this together. Creativity and musical ability are important, but they also learn to work together as a group and have to be well organised to produce the video footage that could be their next step towards Kiwi music success.”
Other regional awards won on Saturday night:
Apra Lyric Award: Andrew Hockey of General Vibe, Francis Douglas of Memorial College
Lowdown Best Song: Soon to Remain, New Plymouth Girls’ High School
The Mainz Musicianship Award: Luke Burn, the drummer from Noriac
Smokefree Award For Women’s Musicianship: Lydia Hayles, bassist from Little Nemo, New Plymouth Girls’ High School
Skinny People’s Choice as voted by text: The Usual Suspects, Opunake High School.
Last years winners national winners of the competition, Velvet Regime, released their first video just recently