Last night, Hard Rock Cafe in Surfers Paradise held the first heat of Hard Rock Rising – an international band competition which sees the winner score $50k worth of prizes as well as trip to perform in Ibiza.
Tokyo Beef, Nowhere Else and Yes Sir Noceur scored slots in the first heat, playing just two songs each.
Though I’d just interviewed Tokyo Beef and heard their single It Ain’t Weak to Speak a bunch of times, last night was the first I’d seen them perform live. There’s no question these guys spent a lot of time listening to classic pub rock growing up and they’re definitely channeling elements of 90s punk like that from T.S.O.L. It’s no wonder they’ve scored gigs at side events for the Quiksilver Pro. Their music is the stuff epic surf soundtracks are made of.
Nowhere Else are a force to be reckoned with and I’m not going to beat around the bush – front woman Jodie Maloney is pretty much responsible for that. Her stage presence an engagement with audiences is exceptional and her voice is powerful enough to draw all eyes and ears (even those of Hard Rock’s family diners, who were possibly a little confused as to what was going on). Nowhere else served up songs which built in energy and pace – with nifty guitar and bass work – but Jodie is absolutely the star of the show.
“They’re like the Doors, only better,” one of the organisers said as Yes Sir Noceur launched into two very different tracks. These guys have something pretty special going on and it’s hard to quantify because it defies formula. There’s gaping holes in songs that actually go somewhere, walls of psych guitar, great stage presence and smiles on faces which show they LOVE what they do. Their hours of rehearsing (and living) together absolutely show. They’re tight.
Judges – Brendan Woodley (The Black Swamp), John Chipchase (“Chippy”), Nik Carpenter (Core Studios), Jesse Dracman (Hard Rock Cafe and Darkc3ll) and myself (Blank GC and GC Music Awards) were stoked that each of the bands brought something unique to the first heat.
“They’re all definitely Gold Coast,” Jesse said during the judging process.
It was close. But all judges say that. And while any of the three bands could have easily been winner and moved on to the final, last night, Yes Sir Noceur were the victors.
They’ve scored a place in the final which takes place Thursday 2 June.
The next two heats are:
Heat 2, 18 May: Versus Fate + Dead Hand Blues + Chelsea Rockwells
Heat 3, 25 May: ThePretty Fingers + My Nanna’s Kingswood + Collins Class
Final, 2 June: Tesla Coils (wild card) + Yes Sir Noceur + winners from heat 2 and 3