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HomeLifestyleEntertainment WrapNorthern Composure comp highlights best local bands

Northern Composure comp highlights best local bands

The annual Northern Composure band competition grand final took place on Saturday 20 April at Dee Why Police Citizens Youth Club (DY PCYC). The event featured a play-off between the final four: Overnight Lows, Astrovan, Bangalley and Melaluka (performing in that order and whittled down over several months from a larger field of competitors).

The additional drawcard was an end-of-night headline performance by Melbourne garage-rock trio, The Grogans. The band competition, in its 21st year, was enjoyed by an enthusiastic crowd of Northern Beaches youths.

The $10,000 prize pool was divided between Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, which included cash payments for all the finalists and a recording session for the overall winners.

All four bands were of high calibre and deserving of the top prize, however, the ultimate winners – and in this reporter’s opinion the worthiest contenders – was Astrovan, a quintet from Mosman High School.

Astrovan, performing at the 2024 Northern Composure band competition. Photo: Alec Smart

Other noteworthy bands that made it into the preliminary finals over the last few weeks were Black Lotus, Dragonfly, The Owls in the Moss, Reptyle Dysfunction, The Silver Bullets, Sweet Tooth and This is Madness.

In addition to a $1,000 cash award from Northern Beaches Council the winners, Astrovan, were gifted a marketing and publicity package from Perfect Pitch. Furthermore, Mall Music and BOSS provided a Rowland musical equipment voucher and consultation with a Rowland product specialist.

Best of all, they were awarded a full music production package from Jaminajar Music Production Studios in Narrabeen where they will record a single with renowned music producer Paul Najar.

After winning the competition, Astrovan told Manly Observer, they were “STOKED!!”

They added, “We all wanna give a massive cheers to everyone involved and we are dead-set, this [Northern Composure] is a cracker thing to exist. Excited to be able to get quality gear and quality new music out of the prize. We are all blessed to have had this hectic opportunity and all of us felt that this gig felt different, like a first real surreal gig and it was bliss.”

Melaluka, finalists in the 2024 Northern Composure band competition. Photo: Alec Smart

Northern Composure is a youth band competition open to any Northern Beaches-based, unsigned bands with members aged 21 years and younger. Managed by Keep A Look Out For (KALOF) – Northern Beaches Council’s youth team – the grand final is always hosted during Youth Week, an annual festival of young people across NSW in mid-April that coincides with school holidays. This year’s Youth Week took place between 11 – 21 April.

The competing bands were judged on five categories: Musicianship (technical ability); Originality (including adding their own style when playing other bands’ songs); Stage Presence (audience interaction and group cohesion); Youth Audience Appeal (the audience consisted primarily of 12-24 year olds); and Overall Conduct.

Astrovan, who launched their set with their recently-released single, What’s Wrong With Olivia? stood out from the others with their finely-crafted original songs and the vocalist’s pleasant singing voice. The audience joined in on the choruses, familiar with their set, and the band were tight and note-perfect. They also performed a stirring cover of Radiohead’s High and Dry, which was a crowd favourite.

Bangalley, finalists in the 2024 Northern Composure band competition. Photo: Alec Smart

Bangalley, named after a headland in Avalon (not smutty slang for a red light district!) were perhaps the most dynamic live band on the night, with members dancing around the stage and the bassist-singer a natural crowd-leader.

With a signature look of singlets and moustaches, they were also the only band that the audience demanded an encore, which was granted by the event organisers, despite time restrictions. They obliged with a blistering cover of The Angels’ classic Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, complete with the infamous call-and-response audience chant that I’m not allowed to print, but you can hear here.

Metalheads Melaluka and the night’s openers, Overnight Lows, both put on strong performances and show a lot of promise. Melaluka, who also competed in the Northern Composure 2023 competition but didn’t make it to the grand final, have released two songs in the last few months, Unpredictable and Anxiety, which can be heard here.

In a message to Manly Observer, Astrovan’s five individual members summarised their personal thoughts of the competition and their band’s win.

Harry: “All the other bands were so good; Grogans were epic, it was lots of fun. 🤙”

Luca: “The prizes are proper mad ay, cheers to the organisers. What a blast!”

Rory: “It’s awesome to see all the hard work that we’ve put in is starting to pay off, it’s really rewarding.”

Jai: “Winning Northern Composure is pretty sick I reckon.”

Jerry: “Super fun night out, thanks to the other bands and everyone who makes it happen.”

And finally: “See you at South Curl Curl Surf Club on May 11th. Astrovan out 🤟”

Overnight Lows, finalists in the 2024 Northern Composure band competition. Photo: Alec Smart

Astrovan on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@AstrovanBand

Astrovan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AstrovanOfficial

Bangalley on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiwZSE8xxuckr1PtBhv0njQ

Melaluka on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@melaluka

Overnight Lows on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@overnightlows

Keep A Look Out For (KALOF)

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/keepalookoutfor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/keepalookoutfor

Events: https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/services/youth/youth-events/event-calendar

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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

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