Grunge band Himalaya wins rockquest

Three-piece thrashes out "teen rage"

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 15:16 05/07/2014
Himalaya Rockquest
ANTHONY PHELPS
ROCKING OUTt: Marlborough Boys' College band Himalaya won the Marlborough Smokefreerockquest. The band comprises lead singer and guitarist Jan Kohout, bass player Aidan Brown and drummer Jack Mcrae.

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Marlborough Boys' College grunge band Himalaya rocked out to be named best band at the 2014 Marlborough Smokefreerockquest on Friday night.

Energetic fans crowded in the moshpit at Marlborough Convention Centre to head bang to the Blenheim three-piece thrash out self-penned songs teen rage and jeopardy. 

Drawing heavily on the influences of iconic grunge band Nirvana the band whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

Lead singer and guitarist Jan Kohout, 15, who this year is boarding at Christ's College, says the crowd liked their hard rock sound and the way they moved on stage.

"There was some head banging going on and we were into our music," he said.

Bassist Aidan Brown, 14, said the win ''felt like a dream''.

''I was in shock, I was crying when we won. I was sure The Grudies would win. The atmosphere and crowd were unbelievable. My family and friends are stoked.''

It is the first public outing for the band that has only been together only a matter of months. 

The boys formed the band last year when Jan was in year 10 and Aidan Brown and Jack Mcrae were all at school together.  

This year Jan being in Christchurch didn't stop them from practising together at weekends.

Second place in the band category was The Grudies from Marlborough Boys' College.

Queen Charlotte College student Dani Gibbs, 17, came first in the solo/duo section and also picked up the Smokefree Award for Women's Musicianship.

It is the fifth time Dani has entered Rockquest.

''It's the best gig of the year and has helped me grow as a musician,'' Dani said.

''I was ecstatic when I won, I have been doing Rockquest for quite a few years and this is my last year of entering so I wanted to go out on a high.''

The singer songwriter impressed with her cruisy sound on songs Freedom and Learning to Fly.

''You only have 7 minutes on stage so you have to make it count,'' she said.

Dani's former band mate Jack Driffill from Queen Charlotte College came second.

The top four Marlborough acts have a chance to compete in the national final in Auckland on September 28 when they send in a 15-minute live recording of original music. 

Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest over its 26-year history include Grammy award winner Kimbra, Nelson two-piece Broods, and musical exports The Naked and Famous.

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- The Marlborough Express

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