Review: ANU Band Comp

On Friday 28 August the ANU Bar hosted six student bands competing in the ACT Final of the National Campus Band Comp. Having progressed to the final through prior heats, the competition was won by pop-harmony three-piece Kaleid, with Mr. Monday and Hat Trick taking out second and third place respectively.

Despite the understandable gravitation toward rock, soul and pop genres, it was a show of impressing stylistic variety. Each group was no doubt selected for their idiosyncratic uniqueness and quality. From the tight, tender teen-love laments of Hat Trick, to the abrasive slash-rock of Triumvirate and the nostalgic folk-pop of The Gypsy Scholars, the audience was engaged by a diverse repertoire of mostly original songs.

The band competition is now in its 25th year and is one of the many vessels for launching unseen local talent. The competition is open to groups from all of Canberra’s tertiary institutions and is often a first point of exposure for promising acts. It was an opportunity relished by the competitors with charm and humility.

This year’s show offered an impressive and diverse musical selection. The competition opened with the sensitive but sharp rock of Hat Trick, who were followed by the heavy, pulsing rhythms of Triumvirate. Then the elegiac poly-vocal harmonies of Kaleid turned the mood to a chilled-out soul feel, continued by the warm and up-beat mandolin and reggae-infused folk of The Gypsy Scholars. Three-piece Moon were the most experimental band of the night, mixing pop vocals with intense, overdriven hard-rock jams. Mr. Monday closed the show off in style with fast and fun multi-guitar sing-alongs and crowd-buzzers.

The elation of the night was perfectly captured by Kaleid’s Kirrah Amosa, who observed, “There is so much talent in this building right now; it’s not right!” Excitement for and from the bands was the prevailing emotion, and a confirmation that there is indeed much to be excited about in the student music scene in Canberra.

Kaleid competed in the 2015 AACA NCBC National Final in Sydney on September 24.