The room was rocking but punters mostly stuck to their seats at the Manawatu Rockquest regional finals.
Ten bands and two solo/duo acts performed for a packed house at the Globe Theatre last night.
Alternative rock band Soda Boyz took out the top prize.
Bandmates, Josh Finegan, 18, Felix Carr, 17 and Jules Rosenbrook, 17, said it was a dream come true to win.
Judges Jemma Cheer and Grayson Gilmour said the band, whose members attend Palmerston North Boys' High School and Freyberg High School, stood out because of their innovative style.
"I think they had perhaps the most unique sound and that's what stands out in a lineup of bands," Gilmour said.
Earlier, the mellow love songs of duo Ad Lib, comprising Libby Offord, 14 and Adam Sowman, 17, from Palmerston North Girls' and Boys' high schools, had the crowd swaying. They also won the judges over, taking home first place in the solo/duo category.
It wasn't until heavy metal made an appearance that a mosh-pit was formed.
Heads were banging and hair was waving for Horowhenua College band Gospel, who picked up third place in the band category.
Parents sitting at the back of the room sat stony-faced while the lead singer growled into the microphone.
Second place went to P90s from Nga Tawa Diocesan School and Whanganui High School.
Winners will now send in video footage of their original music to be judged in August in the lead-up to the national final in September.
Founder and director Glenn Common said the Manawatu finalists would have to work hard to make the most of the opportunity Smokefreerockquest offered.
"It's a process that demands creativity and musical ability, as well as learning to work together as a group and developing the organisation skills they'll need if they're going to make it on the Kiwi music scene."
Rockquest has national winners' prize packages for bands and the solo/duo winners that include musical gear to a total value of $13,000, a track on the NZ On Air Kiwi Hit Disc, and radio and video play.
Musical successes from the event include Kimbra, The Peasants, Broods, Joel Little, Bangladesh, Midnight Youth, Opshop, Annah Mac, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Minuit and Kids of 88.
- Manawatu Standard
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