Band's hard work brings victory

COUNTRY'S BEST: Ratsmagic featuring Kriston Batistich has won the Battle of the Bands.
COUNTRY'S BEST: Ratsmagic featuring Kriston Batistich has won the Battle of the Bands.

The announcement came at 3.30am.

After two nights of final performances from some of the best new bands in the country, Ratsmagic, featuring Waiheke Islander Kriston Batistich, was announced the winner of the Battle of the Bands 2012.

The Battle of the Bands is New Zealand's largest band competition for over 18s.

Ratsmagic and another band called Vessel featuring former Waiheke residents Elmo Strauss and Louis Bo Charles, beat more than 100 bands to make it into the finals at Auckland's King's Arms on August 31 and Juice Bar on September 1.

It took two months of eliminations through a series of heats, semifinals and regional finals to get into last weekend's national finals.

Judging was made by a panel of industry professionals and musicians along with the audience whose votes counted for 50 per cent.

After being placed in the top five and a "massive two nights", Vessel's Elmo Strauss says the band was glad to have taken part.

"It was more about getting exposure and networking. Now it's onwards and upwards."

Top-placed Ratsmagic features Kriston on guitar and lead vocals along with his girlfriend Meghan Glue on violin and mandolin, Olly Robinson and Michael Murray on bass and drums.

The band played four songs at the first night of the finals including a new song.

Kriston's mother Janet Meredith who was in the audience says although it was a brave thing to do, by the end of the song the crowd was singing along with the chorus.

"They owned the stage and they had lots of interaction with the audience," the proud parent says.

"The determination and focus they've shown throughout the competition has been reflected in the result."

Kriston has been performing since his early teens and has focused on a musical career since leaving King's School last year. During school holidays he's been a regular busker outside the supermarket and has played at the popular Carols by Candlelight at Little Oneroa Beach Reserve several times over the years. His last performance on Waiheke was in July when he sang Mack the Knife at Casito Miro under the name Bartful Korcula.

He is "stoked" to take out the competition and is still taking it in.

"I'm overwhelmed and excited. I'm just taking it as it comes. We will keep doing what we're doing and continue to focus on writing."

Ratsmagic has won time in a recording studio and musical equipment plus live appearances. Waiheke residents will be able to catch the band on stage at the Osti Bar in Ostend on October 6.

Waiheke Marketplace