Pumped-up girls rock on

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

This ain’t no bland band.

Dy­namic teen jam­mers Ash­leigh Wal­lace, Kath­leen Wil­liams, El­lie McBur­ney and Jade Payn­ter make up in­die-pop-rock group VIVID.

And this year they’ve made it to the top.

VIVID is one of six fi­nal­ists through to 2014 Smoke­free­rock­quest na­tion­als next month, beat­ing 700 en­tries na­tion­wide to get there.

They are the first all-girl band to make it to the fi­nals since 1998, Wal­lace says.

‘‘That’s a long time ago. That makes it all the more sig­nif­i­cant to us, that there’s fi­nally an­other girl band in the fi­nals and it just hap­pens to be us.

‘‘We love per­form­ing to­gether. We’re just rock­ing out up there as th­ese four pumped-up girls.’’

Wil­liams and Wal­lace first set up their mi­cro­phones in year 7 at Dioce­san School for Girls and McBur­ney joined them dur­ing a class­room band project the next year. Soon VIVID was born. Bass gui­tarist Jade Payn­ter of Marist Col­lege is the new­est re­cruit and joined this year.

The band’s toe-tap­ping tunes are a happy mix of in­die, pop and rock mu­sic, Wil­liams says.

‘‘It’s just catchy mu­sic. You lis­ten to a song on the ra­dio and it’s cool but there’s always some­thing you want to change.

‘‘It’s so cool when peo­ple are singing your own songs back to you.’’

VIVID prac­tise to­gether about three times a week but get­ting to na­tion­als hasn’t been an easy road.

They got to the Auck­land re­gion­als for the last three years but have never made it fur­ther in the com­pe­ti­tion.

The stu­dents are in their last year of high school and, even though they’ve de­cided to keep the band go­ing through univer­sity, this was their fi­nal shot at the ti­tle, McBur­ney says.

‘‘We talk about this Win­ston Churchill quote: ‘Suc­cess is mov­ing from one fail­ure to an­other with­out loss of en­thu­si­asm,’ and it just kept us go­ing.

‘‘I felt like I was in a daze when we heard. It didn’t sink in.’’

Mt Al­bert band mem­ber Payn­ter says she ‘‘pretty much screamed’’ with ex­cite­ment when she found out they were through to the na­tion­als.

And they have high hopes for the fi­nals, she says.

‘‘I think it’s the en­ergy we all have that makes it so amaz­ing. It’s a re­ally cool feel­ing to ac­tu­ally like the mu­sic that you play and want to do it all the time.

‘‘I hope we win and I think, if we work hard enough, we can get there.’’

Singer-song­writer Anna Cod­ding­ton was one of the four fi­nal­ist judges and also played in the last all-girl band to make the Smoke­free­rock­quest fi­nals in 1998.

She says she was blown away by the stan­dard this year.

‘‘Their song­writ­ing was so good . . . a lot them sounded like ra­dio-ready, com­plete and wellfin­ished songs.

‘‘An­other thing that was great to see was the strong per­for­mances from fe­males, re­ally shred­ding their gui­tars, which maybe shows a shift in at­ti­tude. Per­haps they’re en­cour­aged more now.’’

The na­tional fi­nal of Smoke­free­rock­quest will be held at Auck­land’s Q The­atre on Septem­ber 27 from 7pm. Tick­ets are on sale from Au­gust 25.

Best friends: Kath­leen Wil­liams, Ash­leigh Wal­lace, El­lie McBur­ney and Jade Payn­ter of all-girl band VIVID.

PHO­TOS: SO­PHIE-MIYA SMITH

Rock­ing out: VIVID in ac­tion with bass gui­tarist Payn­ter, lead singer Wal­lace, drum­mer Wil­liams and lead gui­tarist McBur­ney.

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