Northern Beaches band Blind Eliza won the annual Northern Composure band competition in a grand final play-off between four strong contenders, which took place on Friday 28 April at Dee Why Police Citizens Youth Club (DY PCYC).
The other bands performing in the final were Miss Bozway (4th place), The Tin Heads (3rd) and TIGER (2nd), all of which were awarded financial grants from Northern Beaches Council and music production packages from sponsors, to help develop their respective careers.
Northern Composure is a youth band competition open to any beaches-based, unsigned bands with members 21 years and younger, and the 2023 contest attracted a musically diverse field of regional talent.
Overseen by Keep A Look Out For (KALOF) – Northern Beaches Council’s youth team – 2023 saw the annual live music competition celebrate its 20th year, after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grand final took place during Youth Week, a festival held between 20 – 30 April across NSW every year, which Mayor Michael Regan described as “a great chance for everyone to have fun and celebrate the contribution young people make to our community.”
Council summarised the tuneful tournament: “Northern Composure is the largest and longest-running youth band competition in the area and offers musicians local exposure as well as invaluable stage experience. Bands compete in heats, semi-finals and the grand final for a total prize pool of over $15,000.”
This year the initial heats were held online instead of in venues. After music video entries to the competition closed at midnight on 12 February, the community voted between 13 – 26 February. Subsequently, the field of 19 entrants was whittled down to 12 bands, which then battled it out in live performances at the two March semi-finals.
The first semi-final took place on Saturday 18 March at Mona Vale Memorial Hall, between Aphrodisiac + Blind Eliza + Dial Denial + MELALUKA + Monke Business + TIGER.
The second semi-final took place on Saturday 25 March at YOYO’s Frenchs Forest, between Essence Rock Band + Ghazza + Grelly & Ines + Miss Bozway + The Shenanigans + The Tin Heads.
Music videos of all 19 bands that entered the 2023 Northern Composure competition can be viewed on the KALOF YouTube channel.
Council paid respect to previous competition entrants that have subsequently become high achievers. “Over the past 20 years we have had many success stories .. bands such as: Ocean Alley, Lime Cordiale, Dear Seattle, What So Not, The Rions, Winston Surfshirt, Crocodylus, and even a Triple J announcer, plus a wide range of industry professionals.”
The aforementioned Dear Seattle returned to DY PCYC on Friday night for this year’s grand final to entertain the crowd, playing selections from their most recent album, Someday, while the judges adjudicated on the 2023 winner.
The local grunge/indie-rock band, which formed in 2013 and have enjoyed considerable success in the last ten years, won ‘audience favourite’ when they historically competed in Northern Composure (which was, by their recollection “about a decade ago”).
Winning band’s ambition is not blind
It was expected TIGER may take the top award on grand final night, at least if the judges could be swayed by the enthusiastic and vocal rallying from their bevy of young fans, who fawned over the bold, bare-chested singer in his shiny leather pants.
TIGER were dynamic and oozed requisite rock’n’roll sex appeal, and will no doubt bloom, however, this reviewer agreed with the judges’ decision that Blind Eliza were the most deserving winner.
Through a combination of musical prowess, on-stage confidence and well-rehearsed musicianship, Blind Eliza shone above their peers.
The band, which plays complicated-but-catchy power-metal, describe themself on social media channels as “Loud Organised Noise”.
The quartet formed in 2021 and began performing live in the first months of the following year. On 4 December 2022, they released their debut single Over My Way (watch video here on YouTube). This was followed on 3 April with Thirst For Gold (watch video here on YouTube), both of which featured in their competition-winning performance at DY PCYC on Friday night.
When they ascended the stage they struck the first chord with a burst of adrenaline and flailing hair, and that energy didn’t relent until the final note.
The two guitarists are both lead players, which allowed for complementary scale-work while the bassist sings and maintains the rhythm with the drummer. No doubt as they develop their song writing they’ll be able to utilise this lead guitar duality in more complex ways.
During one song, the drummer performed a one-handed, two-footed solo on his drum kit while simultaneously pouring a glass of water over his head!
A spokesperson for Blind Ezra told Manly Observer, “We’re so thankful for all the amazing people that invested their time and hard work into making this competition possible and we’re so incredibly grateful for what we achieved.”
There must be something in the water at Mater Maria College. An astonishing number of musicians in the bands that participated in the 2023 Northern Composure band competition are, or were, educated at the Warriewood high school.
In a 6 April post on their Facebook page, they revealed: “Mater Maria was well-represented, with both current students and ex-students, along with many supporters. ‘Melaluka’ band – Jasper Year 9, Felix Year 10 & Jack Year 11. ‘Miss Bozway’ band – Charlie, Luke & Annabelle, Year 12. ‘Tiger’ band – Penny Year 12, Tom & Raf (2022), Jack, Aaron & James (2019). ‘Monke Business’ – Aiden, Milo & Xavier (2022).”
Fifteen musicians! Two of those bands made it to the grand final – is this an indicator that great things are to come from Warriewood to boost the Australian music industry?
Keep A Look Out For (KALOF)
Music videos of all 19 competitors in the 2023 Northern Composure band comp